Hoops are having a great time sponsoring GoFest this summer, and we can’t wait for the festival to travel to Manchester on June 24th. We’ll be partnering with cricket company BatFast, as they use their bowling simulator to get kids interested in the sport. Ahead of that, we spoke to joint founder Runish…
Obviously you love cricket – but how did that passion develop?
Living in Kenya, as a person with an Indian background I was always involved in cricket thanks to my family.
I always played cricket with my uncles, neighbours, friends, etc. Slowly, cricket became more than a hobby for me.
When was the decision taken to turn that passion into a career?
Jignesh and I have shared a common passion for cricket since we met when we were 12.
We are both from Kenya and moved to the UK to study. Soon after our education, we were ensnared in the world of work which left us very little time to play cricket.
With the help of our technological background, we arrived with an idea of a cricket simulator machine.
This idea led to the inception of BatFast.
Interesting! I suppose what we need to know now is what exactly is BatFast?
Cricket is a very time consuming sport that is not accessible by people of all socio-economic and age groups. The likelihood of people learning a sport like cricket diminishes after a certain age.
Besides, cricket equipment is very expensive.
BatFast’s cricket simulator aims to reduce the time and cost constraint of cricket while addressing the needs of people from different skillsets.
With options to play from 15 minutes to hours, the machine can provide three times the amount of training an average cricket session could.
The simulators are designed to adapt settings for people of different skillsets with options between hard and soft balls.
The equipment will also be provided to the customers which means they will not have the burden of bearing the expenses on themselves.
To put it simply, the company aims to make cricket more accessible for all and increase participation in the sport.
Why do you think cricket needs something like BatFast, in comparison the sport’s traditional offers?
Cricket, despite being one of the most watched sport in the world, is only a major sport in about 15 countries which makes it a relatively less popular sport compared to basketball or football.
However, the rise of Twenty20 cricket and leagues like the Indian Premier League has proven that cricket can be a sport for all, rather than a sport for few.
The sport could certainly do more to access new markets.
Organizations like the International Cricket Council and England Cricket Board are starting to do more to increase participation and popularity of the game and it’s a great opportunity for small businesses like ours to use technology and innovations to complement their efforts.
The number of young start up businesses in cricket is relatively lesser than other sports, and hence it is a great opportunity.
We can definitely make cricket more accessible. Cricket simulators are specifically designed for both entertainment and training purposes, separately.
This could not only increase participation but also make learning the sport more fun and efficient.
Sad as it may seem, is the traditional cricket club falling out of fashion?
Traditional club cricket is very good and useful, but it doesn’t relate to the complex societies that we live in where time is unlimited and there is so much else to do.
Club cricket may not longer be the best way to keep in touch with cricket. It needs to have more accessible opportunities where it can be played at a recreational and a competitive level.
Ideas like Kwik Cricket, All-Stars cricket by the ECB, indoor cricket, six a side and last man stands are good concepts that are complementing the club game.
Traditional club cricket is very important to the culture around the sport and for its longevity.
But it is not the most attractive form of cricket, with the last decade indicating that T20 is perhaps the most exciting and marketable version of cricket.
Leagues like the Indian Premier League and Big Bash prove that the North American style of franchise-based leagues can encourage participation and engagement with cricket.
That could be the way forward to make cricket more attractive to a larger target audience.
Ready, steady… #GoFestUK! ?
We bigged it up, it did not disappoint.
— Hoops Connect (@Hoops_App) June 2, 2017
Putting aside your rose-tinted glasses for a moment, why is cricket a good sport for kids to get involved with?
The greatest thing about a sport like cricket is that it can be played by absolutely anyone, regardless of their age, gender or physical abilities.
Inzamam-Ul-Haq was one of Pakistan’s greatest batsman but was not exactly the most physically fit cricketer, while Sachin Tendulkar, perhaps the greatest batsman ever, was very short for an athlete.
Anyone who wants to play cricket does not have to be gifted with physical ability.
Cricket is one of the sports that has a wide spectrum of characters from extremely flamboyant to extremely classy, which means kids from different backgrounds can relate to different cricketers.
It is a gentle sport with dignity that can be enjoyed by participants and viewers, plus it teaches young people patience, concentration, teamwork and the ability to deal with failure.
Sign me up! And finally, what does the future hold for BatFast?
Ideally we’d like to directly influence more people to take cricket as a sport for people across the world in not just cricket playing nations, but every nation.
We want to see youngsters get excited by the game and help build the game into one of the biggest sports in the world.
Hoops and BatFast will be at GoFest North on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June. If you would like to join us, you can buy tickets here.
Hoops is now available in app stores, so you can use us to find opportunities for any sport or fitness activity you can think of. Simply click here to download the app for Android, and here for iOS – or search for Hoops Connect.
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