A sports lawyer and manager by profession, Apurva Daga founded Cricket Lovers & Players back in 2019 with the goal of promoting the game in Kolkata, West Bengal, and also use the game as a platform for networking for people from various industries through various indoor and outdoor tournaments under the Cricket Lovers & Players moniker. Pankaj Arya, Dinkar Jeewani, Manish Harlalka and Ayush Sodhani are the backbone and core committee of Cricket Lovers & Players.
The Battle of Champions is an annual outdoor tournament that had its inaugural edition held in 2022. The tournament will be returning for its second season in March 2023. Other tournaments held have been the Alliance Turf Cup in 2018 and the Playmate Turf Cup since 2019, both of which are indoor tournaments and take place on an annual basis.
The 2023 Battle of Champions will take place on March 18 and 19, 2023, at the Bangur Avenue D Block, Kolkata. The tournament will introduce both men’s and women’s cricket as it aims to grow both the game and reach out to wider audiences across the two genders, keeping true to its message of “networking through sports”. The day-and-night tournament will have three women’s and six men’s teams competing for the title.
The six men’s teams participating in the tournament are:
- Shooting Stars, led by Apurva Daga
- Super Kings, led by Prakash Soni
- Knight Riders, led by Jatin Gupta
- Samurai Strikers, led by Rahul Singh
- Team Caribbeans, led by Mohit Chandak
- Golden Team, led by Deep Prabhakar
The auction of the men’s tournament was held on March 4, 2023, at Radhe Palace, Kolkata, and saw each team-owner head into the auction with a total of 1,50,000 points to make a team of 10. The auction saw Saurabh Bangani become the most expensive buy, going for 47,000 points to the Golden Team. Sparsh Gupta and Sunny Sharma were the joint-second-most expensive buys with their bids of 42,000 points each by the Super Kings and the Knights Riders, respectively. Raj Ballav Mundhra was signed by the Knight Riders for 36,000 points, while Mayank Dhandhania rounded out the top five most-expensive buys with a bid of 35,000 points and was signed by the Samurai Strikers.
The women’s teams participating in the tournament are:
- Superwoman’s, owned by Punam Chand Jewellers
- Queen Bees, owned by Avilakshh
- Rishabh Blasters, owned by Rishabh Travel Services
The auction for the inaugural women’s tournament was held on March 14, 2023, at Urban Masala and saw each team-owner head into the auction with a total of 1,00,000 points to make a team of eight. The women’s auction saw Silpa Baid get the highest bid at 41,000 points, signed by Superwoman’s, who also roped in Deepti Somani as Captain and Harshita Baid as Vice Captain. Avilakshh signed Jaanvi Mishra as Captain and Vaishali Linga as Vice Captain for the Quees Bees, while Rishabh Blasters signed Ritu Hirawat as Captain and Garima Raijada as Vice Captain for the Blasters.
The top bids at the women’s auction were:
- Silpa Baid for 41,000 points to Superwoman’s
- Sony Jain for 38,000 points to the Queen Bees
- Surabhi Agarwal for 38,000 points to Superwoman’s
Mr. Daga was also grateful to the partners and the role they play, stating:
“CLP are also thankful to Mr. Sudeep Baid, who is the managing partner of Radiant Group for backing the young talents.“
The tournament has roped in Urban Masala Restaurant as a Co-sponsor, Felicity as the Associate Main Sponsor, Shiv Shivam as the Associate Men’s Sponsor, Ecclesiastes Cafe as the Associate Women’s Sponsor, Genesis Hospital as the Associate Health Care Partner, Kompanero as the Associate Leather Accessories Partner, Goodwyn Tea as the Associate Tea Partner, Radhe Palace as the Associate Hospitality Partner, Jaipur Emporium Jewellers as the Associate Jewellery Partner, Mahabir Danwar Jewellers as the Associate Winners Partner, The Pug Bakery as the Associate Gifting Partner, ChampHunt as the Associate Social Media Platform Partner, The Chocolate Room as the Associate Cafe Partner, Touchwood Interiors as Associate Interior Designing Partner, Pahadi Marketing as the Associate Digital Partner, and SportsKhabri as the Official Media Partner.