The Trendsetter |


According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the meaning of the word ‘trendsetter’ is “a person, organization, etc. that starts to do something that others then copy”. Well, the word exactly suits the Ratnagiri Champions Trophy and its organizers. Record-breaking viewership, first-ever Raigad vs Rest of Maharashtra game, new teams, unique technologies by live broadcasters. This indicates how the meaning of trendsetter is applicable to India’s one of the biggest and most followed night overarm tennis ball cricket tournament.

In its only seventh season, Om Sai Sports organized Ratnagiri
Champions Trophy 2020 sets a new high in its own style. Parag Sawant, Deepak
Pawar, and their team had new challenges to deliver the best in the business to
its viewers and followers throughout the world. But It wasn’t possible without
Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and MLA Uday Samant. Also, can’t forget the
efforts broadcasting team ‘’ put to make this possible.

A few days before the tournament starts, Santosh Nanekar –
CEO of Nanekar Info Solutions Pvt. Ltd. which owns ‘’ sent the proposal
to Deepak Pawar (a member of organizing committee) about the exhibition match
between Raigad and Rest of Maharashtra. In Maharashtra tennis ball cricket,
there have been friendly matches played between Raigad and Thane – two giant
districts in tennis ball cricket. It is not hidden that the response to these
matches was out of the box. The crowd loves such matches and organizers of
famous tournaments like Late Ratanbuva Patil Smruti Chashak have witnessed the
history. During Late Ratanbuva Patil Smruti Chashak Raigad vs Thane match,
YouTube live watching record was broken by Global Tennis Cricket (GTC) and collectively.

It all started back in 2014 at Taloja night tournament when the
first clash between Raigad and Thane took place. It was the year when tennis
ball cricket was just started broadcasting live on the internet. YouTube life
and Facebook live were just begun and crazy fans in Maharashtra and in some
parts of India were experiencing something new.

In India, if someone starts the trend it does not take much
time to spread all over. To take an example of it, the Indian Premier League
(IPL) is the perfect example. It all started in 2007 when the Indian Cricket
League (ICL) emerged in India with new format T20. Back in 2003 England and
Wales Cricket Board (ECB) introduced the shorter format in their inter-county
competition. But to popularize this newer format, it took just a year in India
when Lalit Modi with his glamourous concept authorized T20 cricket to India and
international players.

The same logic or rather concept applies to the tennis ball
cricket. After all it all about cricket. The glamorous look in gully cricket
started when Supremo Trophy 2016 was first broadcasted live on YouTube. Before
that various tournaments, like Late Ratanbuva Smruti Chashak was broadcasted on
a local cable network. But watching a live tournament was happening for the
first time in history. The audience in tennis ball cricket had a habit to watch
player videos over YouTube, Facebook till then. But an introduction to YouTube
live changed the feel of tennis ball cricket. From 2016 to today 2020 the trend
of broadcasting tennis ball cricket matches live has been revolutionary in

For the last one year so, it has been trend playing Thane vs
Raigad exhibition matches in almost every tennis ball cricket tournament. In
2020 alone, there have been five matches already played between these two giant
tennis ball cricket districts. In Shakti Chashak, Mumbai, we saw Thane, Raigad,
and Mumbai clashing in the triangular series. But playing all the Maharashtra
in a single game never happened before 13 February this year. The concept
executed in Ratnagiri Champions Trophy 2020 must be appreciated as its
organizer Om Sai Sports did a fantastic job to make this happen.

Deepak Pawar (L) and MLA Uday Samant (R) having chat during Ratnagiri Champions Trophy

“Superb is the only word I would say at the moment. The
response we received from tennis ball cricket fans into the stands and over the
internet is simply unbelievable,” says Deepak Pawar one of the core members of
Om Sai Sports. “We had only 36 hours to prepare for the Ratnagiri Champions
Trophy 2020 as there was an event on the same ground and my entire Om Sai
Sports team did a fantastic job. It wasn’t possible to make this event
successful without them. And I would proudly say our hard work paid off. We are
satisfied with our teamwork and on behalf of my Om Sai Sports team, I will
appreciate and thanks to tennis cricket lovers. Without them, it wasn’t
possible. Our president Parag Sawant and the entire team are happy with the
response we got. This is completely teamwork.”

However, playing Raigad vs Rest of Maharashtra exhibition
match was one of the toughest challenges in the tournament. Arranging players
from all over Maharashtra in a single match is never easy. Being asked the
favorite moment of the tournament Deepak Pawar says, “That exhibition match
between Raigad vs Rest of Maharashtra was my favorite moment from Ratnagiri
Champions Trophy. In broadcasting we broke that live watching record was that
particular moment I would say. I was waiting for that moment since the tournament
started and I was possible with the efforts from Santosh Nanekar and my entire
Om Sai Sports team. To cut this short, it was a dream more than number records
to arrange this match we did it.”

From a viewership perspective, it may be for tournament
exposure on a global platform but arranging such games give the platform to
players and it gives feel to players to represent their district with passion. Players
playing for their villages, their professional open team play in a team in
district games and it sets an example to the international stadium.

Perhaps, it is just a beginning and in upcoming seasons there
will be a match of such a trend in almost every tournament. Even in the rainy
season rubber ball cricket tournament we maybe see such games.

‘The trend has just begun’

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