A samosa can come without potatoes but an IPL match without cheergirls? After the auction of cricketers, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has asked BCCI officials how the cheergirls were promoting the cause of cricket? The officials were reportedly at a loss of words.
Others involved in the IPL are not so tongue tied. “They add glamour. The crowd loves them. It’s not that big a deal that a parliamentary committee needs to get involved in it. Maybe they have too much time on their hands!” says actor Gaurav Kapur who will be hosting the televised matches in the upcoming IPL season 4.
Not part of the ICC Cricket World Cup, starting next month, the cheergirls have been seen dancing in the IPL matches in the past. “When I hosted the IPL, I quite enjoyed them and even shook a leg with them! 20/20 is about entertainment and the cheergirls certainly provide that, especially in those breaks when batsmen get out or the innings get done. They can really pep up the crowd,” says actor and former host of the IPL, Angad Bedi.
Most IPL fans we talked to, favoured the cheerleaders. “IPL is all about fun. Why get rid of the cheerleaders? What’s the point of watching just another boring match? We might as well be watching test cricket then,” says Sushant Sharma, 21, a student.
Meanwhile, the main stars of IPL, the cricketers and the team owners, are staying focussed on the game. “Cheerleaders are simply to attract crowd, it’s a waste of money. They don’t play any role in cheering up the team as the players don’t even have the time to look at them,” says Preity Zinta, owner, Kings XI, Punjab. “When you’re playing a match, all you think of is the next ball, whether you’re a batsmen or a bowler. We don’t go around noticing cheerleaders, fireworks or any such things. We play for the fans and to compete,” says Akash Chopra who will be playing for Rajasthan Royals this season.