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Cricket babes come calling again

The willow season is back and so are new and glam cricket anchors being roped in by TV channels to spice up the pitch, writes Rewati Rau

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 19:27 IST

Three years ago, in South Africa, a sexy lady in a sari and noodle strap blouse turned the idea of TV cricket coverage in this country on its head.

That was Mandira Bedi glamming up the wicket world — and cricket was only incidental to what she spoke. And where there is a successful idea, can clones be far behind? Amrita Raichand, the Whirlpool model, is anchoring a show on Zee Sports for the ongoing tri-nation series on Malaysia and Max is replicating Mandira by bringing in Shonali Nagrani as the roving reporter.

Roshni Chopra, who hosted a show on DD Sports last year, is now out of the fray.

Mandira Bedi sparked a new trend in glammimng up the willow scene.

Entertaining strokes: Action comes home with the ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in India from October 7 toNovember 5. Says Albert Almeida, executive VP and business head, Max, “Our target is to make cricket entertaining as it is for the family. Mandira is not an expert but asks questions which many of us would want to know about.”

Agrees Gaurav Seth, VP (marketing), Zee Sports, “Diehard fans get what they want through experts and anchors like Amrita help broaden our viewership.” Babe talk: By incorporating the glam angle, channels are definitely wooing the nation that breathes, eats and sleeps cricket.

Says Mandira, “Cricket coverage is no more about men discussing the game in the studio. I’m happy that I was a part of the change.” But this is a maiden venture for Shonali and Amrita.

Speaking from Malaysia, Amrita says, “This is the most nerve-wracking assignment I’ve ever done. I knew enough about cricket due to my family, but my real training was meeting cricket’s all-time greats.”

Shonali, a player herself, is confident: “I’ve been actively involved with horse riding, volley ball and table tennis. And for cricket, Charu Sharma is my guru.” The odd one out, Rohit Roy, who will interview film/ cricket stars for Max, feels he will be able to hold his own despite the babe deluge.

He asks, “How do you know what people like to see?” Dress code: While Mandira is sexy even in a sari, the others have been asked to stick to western attire. Says Shonali, “My clothes will be sporty.” But Mandira doesn’t reveal much about what she will wear this time: “We recently met our designers and our plans are exciting.”

There’s definitely more to look forward to than just score updates.

First Published: Sep 18, 2006 14:12 IST