KKR brings Rabindrasangeet to IPL 5th season
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During last season's Indian Premier League, the first since the sacking of its brainchild and commissioner Lalit Modi, the event had undertaken its first deglamourising step. The controversial IPL nights had been stopped as the fourth season of the league tried to shake off its entertainment-fuelled image. Now, a few days before the fifth season of the IPL, the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise has decided to withdraw its short-skirted, foreign cheerleaders.
Instead, according to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), KKR's troupe will now consist of local, sari-clad women, dancing to the tunes of Rabindrasangeet.
"The KKR owners — Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla — have decided to bring on the Bengali flavour this season. They feel it will help them connect with the local fans," CAB Secretary Biswarup Dey told The Indian Express. Embracing Bengali culture, the owners hope, will help draw sizeable crowds after last year's near no-show.
There will be a fleet of dhakis, traditional Bengali drummers, to assist the dancers, who will come on in between fall of wickets and the flow of boundaries.
Incidentally, while KKR will be the first franchise to drop its cheerleaders, Pune Warriors never imbibed this concept. Entering the fray as the newest franchise last season, the Pune-based club had begun its IPL journey with Indian 'Cheer Queens', who put on display seven traditional dance forms — everything from Bharatanatyam to Lavani.