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One Indian cricket team has withdrawn cheerleaders from matches while others are being told to cover up, after protests that their dances and skimpy outfits were offensive to conservative Indians.

Cheerleaders, many imported from abroad, were hired to enliven India's new $900-million domestic cricket league in which eight teams play a shortened version of the traditional game.

But while drum players, blaring music and the presence of Bollywood stars cheering among spectators may have enlivened the contests, cheerleaders may be one spectacle too far.

"At the right time, of course, we will be open to this," Vijay Vancheswar, vice-president of GMR group that owns the Delhi Daredevils, told local media on Wednesday.

"Having said that, it is a question of priorities and the priority now is to play cricket and there will be no cheerleaders for now," he said.

The sight of many foreign women and Indians dancing in high boots and skimpy shorts sparked anger from both Hindu nationalists, who opposed their open sexuality, and some leftist parties which said it crudely copied western culture.
 
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