Confessions of an IPL Cheerleader

Our secret IPL Girl will be blogging exclusively for for the duration of the tournament. In her first blog, she gives an insight into what it’s like to be cheering in front of thousands in the searing heat, in the knowledge that Shane Warne is probably hiding in the bushes…
AS a young South African girl, I have never had the opportunity to travel abroad. All I have ever come to know are crazy Zimbo’s and chilled out Mozambicans. So when the chance to tour India during the IPL came about, I jumped at the opportunity.

Get paid to be in a foreign country, doing what I love? Hells yes!
Two months off to explore a different culture? For sure!
Dancing experience? Tick!

Although, not quite the dancing I was used to…my job description? A professional cheerleader!

The auditions and rehearsals were somewhat interesting, a challenge, to say the least. My dancing style changed from classical and poised, to bust-popping and booty-shaking!
Surely there’s room for these in the game?

The ICC Twenty20 CWC in SA 2007 was the first international cricket event to ever have cheerleaders. Cheerleading originated in the USA for sporting events such as NFL and basketball, to encourage audience participation and support. It is a sport of its own, consisting of stunts, jumps, pyramids, cheers and dancing. Although, we only
concentrate on the dancing side of things, mainly to avoid broken collar bones, concussions and ultimately paralysis!
During IPL 2008, cheerleading was introduced to add some glamour to the game. These girls were the USA Red Sox and they kicked up quite the scandal for conservative Indian crowds. Such a thing and type of dress code had never been seen before at the games. The girls were said to be vulgar and obscene, and were fined by Mumbai police for violating entertainment licenses. The girls dealt with jeering and mocking comments from the crowd and the main reaction was that cheerleading was making a mockery of the game.
But what defines vulgarity ?

The indignation was rather misplaced, as Mumbai city is home to the thriving industry of Bollywood films, where dance sequences featuring women in skimpy dresses are a matter of routine. In India, womanhood is respected, and women keep their Indian values intact. So you can imagine the amount of dropped jaws when these blonde bimbos began breaking it down in front of thousands of men, women and children, wearing thigh-high boots and a belt for a skirt!

The Women: Livid, disgraced and maybe secretly, a tad jealous too.
The Men: Shockingly fascinated and maybe secretly a tad excited!
My thoughts: Well, I am not Indian but it’s 2011, get over it! This is cutting edge stuff, learn to embrace it. The media will always ridicule anything in the slightest bit naughty, but hey, we don’t design the outfits, our Indian designers and sponsors do, so why such a problem?

I have now cheered at three matches for my team Mumbai Indians, and they have been defeated just once. To tell you the truth, I believe it’s partly because of our dancing – the crowd have a huge love for the sport, they go absolutely wild, and when we step up on that podium, the men literally lose their freaking minds! The cricketers catch on too with the positive vibes, if you know what I mean!

I am proud and happy to be associated with the event as a whole, whilst shaking my ass!

So, does cheerleading really blunt cricket? I think not.
After all, it is ‘the gentleman’s game!’


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