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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Indian cricket gets cheerleaders but without the skimpy costumes

Sari-clad cheerleaders are to urge on the Indian cricket team when they play England in a one-day international next week.

Sari-clad cricket cheerleaders in India
Lycra saris ensure these Indian cheerleaders don't show quite as much flesh as...

Bikini-clad US cheerleaders
... belly-bearing cheerleaders in the US Photo: GETTY

The Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) has called in the dancing girls to boost crowds and give the home side a little extra support.

But rather than decking the dancers out in American-style bikinis they are being given much more modest attire to wear.

They will be dressed in a full nine yards of silk cloth, the OCA has insisted.

Ashirbad Behera, secretary of the OCA and the organising force behind the cheerleading idea, told The Times: "This is the first time a one-day international will feature cheerleading girls.

"But I will not have them dressing up in short skirts, as it would be against our culture and traditions. Our audience won't accept it."

The cheerleaders will strut their stuff on Wednesday 26 November at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, in north eastern India.

In April this year there was an outcry when the Royal Challengers Bangalore employed American cheerleaders from the Washington Redskins American football team, dressed in bikini tops and hotpants, to dance at a match in the Indian Premier League.

While many Indian men will no doubt enjoy the dance routines, there is resistance to them.

Ramchandra Guha, a historian, said: "Why we always have to borrow the worst of the Western world is beyond me."