Abu Dhabi: There is good news for those who follow the Indian Premier League (IPL) for its cheerleaders — they will be there at all three venues in the UAE, only with a difference. They will be adequately “dressed up” keeping in mind the local sensitivities, according to informed sources.
“We have always had cheergirls in international Twenty20 matches in the recent past in the three venues that will host IPL games. However, there is a consensus to ensure that the dress code is moderate,” a source told Gulf News.
A visit to the Shaikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, which will set the ball rolling on Wednesday, or to Sharjah Cricket Stadium — host to the second day’s action — and one cannot but marvel at the uniform look and feel about them as IPL venues.
While each of the venues in the UAE — Dubai International Cricket Stadium is the third and will host its first matches on Saturday — are different in character, the trademark blue IPL signages, the stages for the bands and the decks for the cheerleaders all wear an identical look. The giant replay screens are among the last bits to go into place, but things are expected to be completed by the end of Tuesday.
Asked what it takes for the IPL logistics team to give all the stadiums such an identical look, a senior official of International Management Group (IMG) told Gulf News: “IPL has a stadium branding design template that is managed centrally and implemented in each stadium. The objective is that every spectator — whether in the stadium, watching on TV or on a mobile phone — should immediately know that they are watching an IPL match.”
The official, however, could not put a figure as to how many tonnes of equipment had to be equipped at each venue for the TV production work, entertainment and the likes.
While claiming that the IPL’s standard of productions “are much larger than standard cricket matches”, he said: “One cannot put a figure on it in saying how much equipment is shipped into the UAE as it is from differing parts of the world at different times.”
A relaxed David East, Chief Executive of the Emirates Cricket Board, added: “It’s been an extremely challenging task to put it up together in such a short time. However, it has come together really well and we are looking forward to the first game.”
The frenzied response to ticket sales has been a pleasant surprise for the local organisers as well the IPL authorities, although Sharjah still has tickets on offer.
Mazhar Khan, General Manager of the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, said on Tuesday: “A limited number of tickets are still available for the first game here [Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils] as well as the double-header on April 27 [Delhi Daredevils vs Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings].
“There are, however, a sizeable number of tickets going for the Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab game [April 20] and Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers [April 22].”
Dubai Sports City on Tuesday confirmed that the double-headers on April 19 and 25 are sold out, but there are tickets available for the matches on April 23 (Rajasthan vs Chennai), 28 (Bangalore vs Punjab) and 30 Mumbai vs Hyderabad).