Pax Americana On The Cricket Field

From Cricinfo’s preview of the opening ceremony of the IPL tonight:

“Bangalore is also banking on 12 cheerleaders from the Washington Redksins, the ‘First Ladies of American Football’, to draw more fans to the stadium. “The entire exercise is to have the right balance of glamour and cricket,” said Sharma. “Usually, cricket is not associated with such ceremonies, and this will be a novelty. At the same time, we would not want the genuine cricket fan to get frustrated waiting for the game to start. Our aim is to present a spectacle that’s short, sharp and sweet, which reflects the spirit of the IPL.”

Seriously? What on earth is Lalit Modi’s fascination with all-things American about? If you must have dancers — and really, serious cricket audiences care more about bat and ball than the fireworks — why do they have to come from America, and that too from American football? There’s a smidgen of justice in importing women from abroad to tantalize Indian audiences — a nice reversal from the centuries of colonialist policies that exoticized the native woman — but this again only confirms a) the keen inferiority complex that the Indian elite feels about its own culture and b) the male-centered and chauvinist world that cricket increasingly resides in.

We’re here to ogle at Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, thank you very much. (Well, and Ishant Sharma too.)


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