Slips and maidens

That the bevy of prancing cheerleaders (aka, pom pom girls) performing in IPL matches had become a controversial topic is unfortunate. The right and wrong of it depends on a person’s preferential view. But why feature cheerleaders in a racy  twenty-over cricket match? The pro cheerleaders lobby will argue that after all it is a bang-bang, 20-over tamasha and so the frisky, young girls should celebrate such truncation of five long days of slogging  to high-octane action-packed glitzy entertainment.

Then again, unlike in the past, the present day cricketers at the wicket look menacingly like medieval knights in armour with all their visible and invisible gears that protect  precious organs, limbs and lives. This adapted dress overkill calls for a sharp contrast of economy in dress to balance the visual equation. And who could fill the bill better than a bevy of lissome lasses --fashionably uncovered?

No spectator sport other than cricket has such terms like slips, maidens, long-legs, fine-legs and leg glance all attributable to femininity. And so bobby-soxers breaking into a wild dance on the small podium to a burst of vibrant music after a four, six or a wicket should only be construed as a depiction of a  music-and-dance quintessence  of the exuberant mood of the frenzied mob gathered around.

My prudish Agatha-ish aunt, who savours  the musical thump of  a red cherry on a willow hitting her ear-drums, mutters colourful unfeminine expressions in Tamil whenever she sees the girls romping on the stage like frisky lambs. An  armchair fielding coach in Chennai who will command Mahendra Singh Dhoni  to  place a deep cover to prevent a four in a match in progress at  distant Chinnaswamy stadium, she  would order provision of extra-cover to the scantily clad girls dancing miles away.

But my nephew who raises his hackles sky high with blow-ups of bootylicious girls plastered all over his pad  has his own point. Such lusty dances, he points out, bother only a few crusty oldies whose staple food should be the monotonous verbose radio commentaries that sound like the drone of low flying old Dakotas — and not visual feasts of festive telecasts.

The only prancing they would  approve, he adds sarcastically, is an occasional dancing down the wicket by a hitter to lift the ball to a towering  six! ‘Like ageing cricketers retiring from playing cricket,’ he sneers, ‘aged spectators should abstain from watching cricket!’

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