Cricket was for long considered the bastion of male, from players, administrators to commentators and anchors. However, things started to change during the 2003 cricket World Cup when Mandira Bedi, wearing low-cut ‘noodle strap’ blouses, presented the Extraa Innings. With little or zero knowledge of cricket, Mandira managed to get the eyeballs, thanks to her dressing style. The reasons given for having Mandira on the show was to increase female viewership. But what the show managed to do was get some cricket-bashers interested as well.
Mandira Bedi can be credited for bringing glamour to cricket. After Mandira, lot of small-time models such as Shonali Nagrani and Lekha Washington took to cricket shows to get the exposure and took it as a ladder to find foothold in film and television industry. Shonali and Lekha were the on-field anchors for the first season of IPL.
However, from the third edition onwards, known faces in TV such as VJ and model Archana Vijaya, model and singer Shibani Dandekar started hosting the cash-rich T20 event. For the current season of IPL, Rochelle Maria Rao, Miss India International 2012, and Karishma Kotak, a Big Boss contestant, are the female anchors along with male co-hosts Samir Kochhar and Gaurav Kapoor.
Over the years, the quality of the female anchors has improved as they seem to have learnt from the mistakes of their predecessors. Today, you do not have Mandira Bedi asking Charu Sharma to explain Duckworth-Lewis method. Instead, female anchors tactfully avoid using cricket terminology and tend to ask questions that are of little relevance to cricket.
The best example being a female anchor asking Mumbai Indians’ Dwayne Smith if he had found sufficient time to do some shopping. Here are few of them which you would like to read for a few laughs. Karun Chandhok, car racer, tweeted on a question about the noise levels at the MA Chidambaram Stadium – Interviewer at #IPL match to me yesterday “Have you ever heard sound like this at a sporting event ?”….Clearly never been to a car race !!. Andrew McDonald was asked who was taller: Gayle or him. And Daniel Vettori about how tough it is to be a pacer.