The ICC World Cup final is an event that captures the attention of cricket enthusiasts worldwide. As India gears up to face Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium on November 19 for a chance at securing their third world title in the 50-over format, memories of the 2011 final resurface, bringing to light a sensational announcement made by a model turned Bollywood actress.
During the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, model Poonam Pandey, who later ventured into Bollywood, created quite a stir with a jaw-dropping declaration. Still a teenager at the time, Poonam Pandey pledged to strip nude in public if India emerged victorious in the World Cup. This audacious promise drew comparisons to a similar commitment made by Paraguayan model Larissa Riquelme during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
While Larissa received praise for her statement, Poonam Pandey faced a different response. Admitting years later in an interview with Mirchi, Poonam confessed that her knowledge of cricket was limited, and the announcement was a mere stunt to garner attention. However, the public backlash was severe, leading to multiple FIRs being filed against her for obscenity. Even her family disapproved, with Poonam recounting that her mother beat her up at home in fear of the consequences following India’s World Cup victory on April 2.
Despite the fervor surrounding her initial promise, Poonam Pandey did not fulfill it after India’s win. She claimed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) denied her permission, citing public disapproval. However, a few weeks later, she posted a video of herself stripping at the Wankhede Stadium at night. The following year, Poonam Pandey posed nude when the Kolkata Knight Riders won the Indian Premier League.
The saga surrounding Poonam Pandey’s bold announcement and its aftermath serve as a notable episode in the intersection of cricket, celebrity culture, and the public’s response to such sensational declarations.