The legend former Indian Cricket team captain Mr. KAPIL DEV, was in Udaipur (Rajasthan) on 24th December, 2017 as Chief guest in CRICKET MAHOTSAV 2017, which is organized successfully under the banner of Wonder Cement with Saath-7 . Recently, on the eve of Cricket Mahotsav 2017, ASHOK KUSHWAHACricket Journalist, (accredited by BCCI) talks exclusively to Mr. VIVEK PATNI, Director of Wonder Cement as well as Organizer of Cricket Mahotsav 2017 in Hotel Taj , New Delhi about the future of Tennis Cricket in India and Cricket Mahotsav. He is an avid sports enthusiast with a special inclination for cricket and always stands at the forefront in Wonder Cement’s sports building initiatives. Excerpts:
With fans coming to support their teams from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, how do you think the preparations are going on for the finale of Saath7 Cricket Mahotsav 2017?
We’re super excited to host the event. Our core team and partners have been working really hard since the start and now that it is on the roll with around 48,000 participants that played across 298 locations in the 3 mega states of India, we have teams which are now competing to be in the finals. To give them the best platform, my team is sparing no effort in making this finale unforgettable one.
As you know, unlike professional and international cricket, we use a tennis ball at Saath7. What are your views on this?
Many of our leading Indian cricketers like M.S. Dhoni started their career with tennis ball cricket. It is a safer form of the sport, where no pad or helmet is required. It is also inexpensive and people from all backgrounds can enjoy it. Rural India is full of streets, where everyone prefers to play with a tennis ball, not only in the gullies, but also in open spaces.
Tennis ball cricket is always a source for entertainment. Do you think this style of play will be adopted in mainstream cricket in the future?
To answer that, I’d like to quote what Shri Kapil Dev himself said in our Press conference, “We never know, maybe we could have World Cups played with the Tennis Ball!”
With the legend himself, Mr. Kapil Dev being associated with Saath7, how much do you think this tournament has benefited from it?
Cricket saath7 is a sporting event that is one-of-a-kind and with the legendary cricketer Kapil Dev himself associated with it, nothing else can inspire the players more. This season we have witnessed participation of over 48000 players, that’s a huge response. Teams having one or more female players have taken women participation to more than 1000. We have seen talented people coming from all walks of life! Mr. Kapil Dev himself announced a personal prize of Rs 1 Lakh to the best player of the tournament at the inauguration. The presence of a former Indian World Cup winner team Captain at the event and his interacting with players gives everyone a huge boost.
Do you think that a Saath7 participant may one day make it to the Indian National Cricket team?
This tournament is a platform for us to bring out the best promising players from the most remote parts of India. We hope that at least one of our participants may achieve this feat. How amazing would it be to see one of our players representing our nation!
What are your plans for the Saath7 Cricket Mahotsav final?
We’ve got big plans for the finals. It is scheduled to be held in the City of Lakes – Udaipur, Rajasthan on 24th December 2017. We shall be looking at 8 participating teams, each being a winner from his/her respective zone. We are also having all women teams battling out in the finale too. It is going to be awesome.
Can Saath7 be compared with Gully Cricket? What are the differences between Saath7 Cricket and Gully Cricket?
Saath7 Cricket Mahotsav is not the same as Gully Cricket. Gully Cricket is often played with a tennis ball or a plastic ball, whereas Saath7 is played with a tennis ball exclusively. Every game in the Saath7 tournament consists of 7 players, whereas gully cricket can be played amongst just 2 players as well. Gully cricket is played in narrow gullies, cramped streets, roads, etc. especially in Tier-II cities where playing grounds and open spaces are confined. Saath7, however, is an organised tournament with proper ground and pitch prepared at each of the 298 locations across the 3 states for the matches. It is a platform to discover and encourage budding talents who will one day don the blue for India!
There are a number of national and international media houses talking about Saath7. How does this coverage make you feel?
It feels great to be under the radar of known media publications, especially because Saath7 was conceived bearing a good thought and approach. We’re glad that people love the format of this tournament and play with a wonderful spirit. It makes us happy. We are extremely grateful to the media for their support and encouragement in making Saath7 Cricket Mahotsav such a huge success!