Are cricket players more fashion-conscious?

In the past century, fashion has evolved tremendously—from corsets to crop tops, and coat tails to tshirts. With hundreds of fashion brands vying for attention, people across the world have become more trendy and fashionable. Not surprisingly, two of the most glamourous fields in the world- fashion and sports- have collided and sports persons have turned into fashion icons. This global trend began with football player David Beckham early in the 21st century.

Just like fashion, cricket has evolved as well since the 1800s, and from being role models, cricketers have become style icons as well. Unfortunately, this seems to have come at a cost. The cost of True Style.

Imran Khan cricketer

Days of cricket past: When style went beyond fashion

Your personal style is a means of expression of your personality and is an all-encompassing concept, going beyond what you wear. Style reflects in your clothing and hair, the way you speak to someone, hold your fork, or write a letter. This traditional sense of true style was something the gentlemanly cricket players of the previous century possessed and practised. You couldn’t be dressed to the Ts and use abusive language like a drunken slob at the local pub.

For instance, the dignified Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was known as much for his quiet charm as for his understated luxe clothing. The dashing Imran Khan made women swoon with his smart shirts and suits, thick wavy hair and his elegant conversation.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

Cricket players have also sought different means to express their individuality and personality. With his carefully groomed side burns à la Elvis Presley, India’s “Brylcreem boy” Farokh Engineer was a vivacious, talkative man and continues to be one. While Sir Viv Richards with his swagger, doffed cap and murderous smile, epitomized Caribbean cool much before a certain Mr. Gayle.

Days of cricket present: Cricket and fashion in the 21st century

Some of the younger Indian and international cricketers are eager to try new trends or even forge their own trend. So Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh carry off grungy jeans with elan, while Kevin Pietersen’s super confidence puts him equally at ease in a printed tee and chinos, as well as in a tailored suit. His versatile style is the envy of a lot of young men.

Virat Kohli tee and jeans

Off duty, most cricketers like to play safe with their fashion and opt for well-known international fashion brands (a number of them often go shopping on their overseas tours). Of course, there is more focus on personal grooming, along with hot trends, high street and premium fashion. Famous cricketers have been spotted in brands like Ed Hardy (Harbhajan Singh), French Connection (Shikhar Dhawan), Lacoste (Michael Clarke) and H&M (Virat Kohli). At formal events several cricketers sport designer suits from luxury brands.

Current off-duty styles

Off the field, the gentlemen (and fashion icons) of today’s cricketing world have opted for a range of looks and styles, such as:

  • Classic– Neutrals like white and black with straight cut jeans (favoured by Kumar Sangakkara, Alastair Cooke)

Kumar Sangakkara

  • Grungy – Distressed jeans, acid washed denim, printed graphic tees (loved by Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers)
  • Sporty– Polo shirts with badges, casual shirts with chinos and jeans (such as Brendon McCullum, Graeme Smith)

Graeme Smith polo tee

  • Versatile– Wear a range of looks (like Kevin Pietersen, Brett Lee)

Kevin Pietersen

On-field fashion

The current crop of cricketers also set out to express their individuality on the field as well. Despite being in uniform, their distinctive features stand out:

  • Tattoos: Brendon McCullum, Kevin Pietersen, Dale Steyn

Brendon-McCullum

  • Hair: Lasith Malinga’s coloured locks, Brett Lee’s spikes, MS Dhoni’s ever-changing hair styles

Lasith Malinga hair

  • Sunglasses: Chris Gayle, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh

Chris Gayle

  • Facial hair: Shikhar Dhawan’s curled moustache and stubble, Mitchell Johnson’s handlebar moustache, Ravindra Jadeja’s royalty-inspired moustache

Mitchell Johnson

Style, fashion and “uniforms”

In the first decade of this century, the idea of style has given way to “fashion statements”, and thus style has become equated only with what you wear. Men and women have become clones when it comes to sartorial choices (solid or graphic tees, skinny jeans, chinos and sneakers). These off-the-field “uniforms” may make you feel part of the peer group, but they don’t express your personality or style.

This limited definition of style has unfortunately percolated to current cricket players as well. While some of them may make a strong fashion statement, their unique style is lacking and invisible. Let me explain: I have never met Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, nor do I recall watching or reading any interview with that legendary cricketer. Yet, one look at his off-duty picture and I am convinced that if I were to meet him, he would be a true gentleman- courteous, respectful, benevolent and, of course, charming. That is the magnetic power of True Style.

True, we shouldn’t judge a wearer by his or her clothes, but what about style as a holistic concept? Somewhere in the past few decades, individual, meaningful True Style has almost disappeared.

Bodyline (sorry, bottomline): Style vs Fashion

Yep, cricket players these days are smart, suave and well-groomed. Some of them endorse fashion brands, appear on fashion magazine covers and sell beauty products, while others are trying their hand at fashion themselves (Virat Kohli’s fashion line WROGN and Zaheer Khan for Sher Singh).

Shikhar Dhawan GQ India

With the overwhelming number of clothing and accessory options for cricket players today, the bright young lot these days is more fashion-conscious than ever. Despite this, the timeless appeal of the erstwhile cricket players is universal, eternal and magical. Young people across the world may want to copy the current players’ clothes, but how many can truly emulate the charm of Pataudi, the playfulness of King Viv, or the elegance of Imran Khan? Now THAT is True Style.

This blog post is an entry for the Blogger Dream Team activity run by Blogmint. (Check out #BloggerDreamTeam on Twitter.)

7 awesome facts about Team India’s Cricket World Cup jersey

The Indian cricket team kickstarted their ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign this weekend with a big win over Pakistan, and we all celebrated! 🙂 As noteworthy as Virat Kohli and the team’s great performance on the field were the distinctive team uniforms.

Nike India team jerseys

Team India’s kit is high-tech, lightweight, comfortable, and much much more. So here are some wondrous facts about the Indian team kits and why they are totally awesome. Read on and boast these facts at the next match you watch with friends (February 22 against South Africa at MCG, Melbourne).

Fact #1: The kit is custom-made

The kits are designed by Nike, official apparel sponsor of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Nike has been designing team jerseys for years now, but this kit was especially developed for Team India.

Fact #2: Each kit is sustainable

Each Team India kit (jersey and pants) is made of approximately 33 recycled plastic bottles. Sustainable = Fantabulous.

Fact #3: The design is insight-based

The Nike team designed the jersey with the help of inputs from several cricketers including ODI captain MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.

Fact #4: Different strokes for different folks

There are separate shoes for batsmen and bowlers. The batsmen’s shoes are called LunarDominate. The shoes have an enhanced grip, ultralight soft and responsive cushioning, a toe “bumper” and plush sock-like fit.

Nike Lunar Dominate shoes for Team India

Fact #5: Special shoes for bowlers

The bowlers are wearing LunarAccelerate, whose main feature is the midfoot strap that locks down the ankle and prevents forward foot slide. That strap is the unmissable “pink stripe” you see on bowlers’ shoes.

Nike Lunar Accelerate for Team India cricket

Fact #6: High-tech kits for optimum performance

The Team India jersey is truly innovative. It’s got Dri-Fit Prime Lite lightweight fabric with laser ventilation holes and breathable engineered knit to keep players dry and comfortable during the match. (Dri-FIT is a microfiber, polyester fabric that moves their perspiration to the fabric surface, where it evaporates. (And hence, we have “cooler” players on the field.)

Nike Team India 2015 world cup jersey

Fact #7: The kits are loved all over!

Tennis ace Roger Federer owns a jersey! As do other famous fans. Take a look:

Roger Federer Bleeding Blue Nike

Deepika Padukone (actor)

DEEPIKA PADUKONE_BLEEDBLUE

Vikas Khanna (chef)

VIKAS KHANNA_BLEEDBLUE Nike

Subbalaxmi (cricket player)

SUBBALAXMI_BLEEDBLUE - Nike

Go Team India!

Team India kits are available at select Nike India retail stores and on nike.com.

5 things that ruined the IPL experience

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Cricketainment (noun): A combination of cricket and entertainment.

Example: The IPL is to cricketainment what Burberry is to trench coats.

As a culture blog, we just had to know what the most overused concept this summer was. So we ventured out for a Mumbai Indians match to get a first-hand experience of cricketainment and the IPL.

And oh, what a pleasant surprise it was! It was organised well (we guess it’s to do with the foreign management), there was food aplenty, and the fans were cooperative. Sadly, there were a few things that threatened to ruin our IPL experience (and these need to disappear ASAP):

  1. Too much music: Team song played after every four or six, and between overs. How on earth do the players stay focussed? (No wonder some of the good players are out of form in the IPL!). And there was also some recent trashy hits that made us cringe.
  2. A very irritating emcee talked before and during the match. Between overs, he’d shout out, “Mummmmbaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiii!” And the shrill “horn” that suddenly rings out—URGHH!
  3. EVERYTHING is sponsored—from the timeout to a sixer.  Not so sure about the match results though (ahem).
  4. Cheerleaders were boring (and looked bored).
  5. Parties and after parties? Sorry, is this cricket season or Oscars season?

Nevertheless, we came home a happy bunch, and not just because our team won. It wasn’t the loud music, the cheerleaders or even the thrill of being part of the crowd. It was a good game of cricket. And that’s what we want. Nothing more, nothing less.

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