Mandira Bedi to Shibani Dandekar: The ladies who left their mark on the IPL

first_imgSo you thought the Indian Premier League was all about fours, sixes, sensational catches and breathtaking spells by some of the best in the business? Think again. The cash-rich league has been a breeding ground for some of the savviest female sports presenters over the last nine years.In an industry dominated by men, these women of substance have stepped forward to bring a touch of glamour, class and cheer to drawing-rooms all across the country. If Mandira Bedi oozed sparkling confidence and old-world charm, Shibani Dandekar changed the game with her good looks, easy smiles and a thorough knowledge of the game. Archana Vijaya, who began her IPL journey with Shibani in 2011 and formed a solid pair for the pre-match shows, also struck a chord with the masses. (Full IPL 2016 coverage )After five years of a delightful partnership, Shibani and Archana made way for Rochelle Rao (who makes a comeback after three years) and Pallavi Sharda. It won’t be easy for the new ladies in town but there’s nothing to suggest they cannot replicate the success of their predecessors.These are still early days for Rochelle and Pallavi but there are pretty good vibes about them already. But we will wait a while yet before drawing parallels with the formidable Shibani-Archana combination, let’s take a look at the women, who have proven that their presence is not about just glamour and sex appeal:Shibani DandekarShibani Dandekar, who appeared in five seasons of the IPL from 2011 -2015 was like a breath of fresh air. The Pune-born actor bowled fans over with her good looks and rich cricket knowledge for half-a-decade. She was a thorough professional, well-respected by cricketers and fans alike and loved across all spheres of society. Her aura created magic on the screen. The broadcasters might have roped in the gorgeous lady for her ethereal beauty, Shibani proved that she was there to talk cricket, talk sense and ask the right questions to the right players. advertisementShibani was all class even after things did not work out for her in 2016. The Bollywood diva has taken it in her stride but we hope she makes a comeback next year.   Rochelle RaoHaving appeared in various Indian TV reality shows, including the much-followed Bigg Boss, Rochelle Maria Rao will be seen talking cricket during IPL 2016. She was third runner-up in Bigg Boss season 9.Rochelle, the winner of Femina Miss India International in 2012, is on her second stint with the IPL after covering the T20 league in its sixth edition in 2013 for a brief period.Archana VijayaOne of the most famous TV sports presenters in the country, Archana Vijaya will be miss the action this year. She began her IPL journey in 2011 and was a constant feature till 2015.She started her career with Neo Cricket, hosting  Tour Diary — where she travelled with the cricket teams to various parts of the country. Archana formed a strong alliance with Shibani but for some inexplicable reason, we won’t see either of them work their magic this season.Lekha WashingtonHere’s a trivia question as the IPL turns nine this year. Who was the league’s first-ever female presenter?Remember Lekha Washington? The beautiful South Indian actress was one of the hosts of the IPL in its inaugural season in 2008, the year Shane Warne led Rajasthan Royals to the title.Mandira BediBollywood actress, fashion designer, model and television presenter, Mandira Bedi anchored the second season of the IPL in 2009 that was won by now-defunct franchise Deccan Chargers.Madira had previously hosted ICC Cricket World Cups in 2003 and 2007, and the Champions Trophies in 2004 and 2006. Loved and adored by fans cutting across generations, Mandira left her own stamp on the IPL, albeit only for a year.Isa GuhaIsa Guha was part of England’s triumphant campaign in the women’s World Cup in 2009. The former England cricketer of Indian origin has been a regular in the IPL and her views and analysis are well-respected by her colleagues and fans alike.Karishma KotakKarishma Kotak anchored the sixth edition of the IPL in 2013 alongside two Shibani Dandekar and Rochelle.Born in London, the Indian-origin model stepped into a modelling career when she was 16. The sultry diva also featured in the Kingfisher Calendar of 2006.last_img read more