Lady and the IPL Game

March 22, 2010
Jess Sikand

I don't know any woman who likes cricket just for the sport of it. I'm sure some do but I doubt if they are full-blooded heterosexual females.

The female cricket fan can be divided in three broad categories:

The MOM: only loves to watch her son play and will only attend or watch games if her son is playing. When he is not batting, bowling or fielding a catch she is usually talking loudly and not paying attention. She likely has a stash of snacks and extra Gatorade in her bag in case she'll get the opportunity to give it to her hungry and parched son in the dugout.

The IPL "owner": usually a wife or daughter of a billionaire (at least a multi-millionaire). She has given this role to a) make her feel fulfilled, b) to place her in the public eye (we girls love attention, and if we are photographed, heck all the better), c) keep her busy. However, the logistics of the team's operations are assigned to various managers and coaches, i.e. people who actually know the game of cricket. Before the IPL she engaged in philanthropic activities like organizing society fundraiser parties for various charitable organizations. In addition to the demanding role of owning an IPL harem, sorry team, she pursues her childhood dreams of dance, photography or some other form of artistry. She likes to be part of the team and sit in the dugout with the boys (just so they feel a little more emasculated than they already do). Big sunglasses, team t-shirt, jeans and high-heels. Finally, if she can combine her charitable causes with IPL then we say it's "a double over".

The Real Fan: hey she's not there to watch the game. She's there to watch the cricket players. She takes great interest in knowing the statistics of the players and statistics of their plays, especially those that involve their marital and dating status. Learning about cricket is just a formality so that she appears to be interested in the game and not just the hunky cricketeers. Knowing terms like leg spinner, fast/slow bowler, sixers, really makes it look like she's a sports fan and not some boy crazy female. It's a case of the skirts chasing the players. And what red-blooded male will not take the candy that's offered to him?

Within the real fan category we have a broad range from the actively involved fan to the casual IPL match viewer. The active fan is the girl in hot pursuit. She makes it a point to know the schedules, hotels, flights of the player(s) she wants to meet. Ask any big name cricketer and they will tell you they recognize certain fans who show up at the airport lounges or hotel lobbies just to meet them. However the majority of females fall into the category of casual viewers. She is the typical fan who is content to secure tickets to the game or watch the games on television. And when the season is over so is the excitement for this type of fan.

The point is, ladies and gentleman, since 2009 viewership of IPL games has grown by 4%. Today, women comprise 38% of cricket fans ("Ladies field day at IPL", Times of India, Mar 21, 2010) Let's get some commentary and shows that are geard to women's interests in cricket. The upside is that women learn about cricket, they support the game and the game grows. For us, it seems, the more cute guys like Zaheer Khan there are, the hotter the game becomes. Oh, yeah, he's a great fast bowler too.

I went to school for a really long time. Now, I live in the real world. I am a watcher, a participant and commenter: speaking with few boundaries and thinking on fast forward.
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