Vice President of Ganador Sports, Kamal, talked to us about a cultivated yet impactful way to enjoy cricket. His company’s unique motto is “passion, participation and diversity.” Ganador is associated with all the major cricketing bodies in the country. They mainly manufacture signature, world-class durable and light helmets, created by cricketers for cricketers. Kamal himself was the first captain of the Ilford Cricket Club to win the league and cup double, and still plays as part of the Essex over 50s team, winning a championship last year. Media manager and the brains behind the Ganador website and much of the design, Danny, has also been playing the game for an adept while: “I’ve been playing cricket for 30 years, including at the senior level for Essex in the late nineties. My father was West-Indian so it really wasn’t choice! It’s great to be involved in the product design side in the trade. For example, I’m looking forward to seeing my artwork on some new equipment, hopefully coming out by end 2018. It’s great to have an opportunity to directly give back to a game that’s given me so much.” The company then brings first-hand experience to the technical blueprint. However, as well as being highly professional, Ganador also concertedly focuses on the quality of safety, selling a universally age-friendly range of cricketing supplies, including the ICC-approved bats and balls, to people of all ages. “The establishment is owned by a family,” Kamal elaborated, “where the three main drivers, myself included, have a vision for not only providing people with high-quality and entertaining games, but trustworthy equipment which will encourage more young children to want to play the game in England whilst being protected. It is legally stipulated that everyone on the pitch should wear a helmet.” Here, an unsaid yet equally defining quality of the company also emerged: authenticity. We found out that Kamal’s investment in the company goes beyond his love for the game, community and his fellow staff back through time to his beloved son, Amit. Taking after his father, the young player was also very gifted, but was tragically killed in a road accident at the tender age of 21. “Part of the reward in working for the company is knowing I can stay connected to my son,” Kamal commented. “It was a joy to watch him grow and thrive, and that Ganador can now do this for many more is wonderful. We can help so many boys and girls become skilled, achieving their dreams.”
Danny added: “I actually played with Amit when I was younger. Kamal is a great role model and his passion for cricket matches mine. Being here reminds me of Amit.” But as the media manager also went on to say: “cricket specifically as a game has allowed me to recognise losing is as much a part of life and personal development as the winning and the highs.” Indeed, always lauded as the Gentleman’s Game, the sport is known for its more balanced, regulated and focussed approach. “Where other sports such as football might invite aggression as commonplace with normalised fouls and so on,” Kamal said, “cricket very much asks the individual and the bat and ball do the performing.” It is at once self-reflective and a team effort. This extends to Ganador’s – the name meaning winner and by the brand’s extension, a particularly open-minded sort - inclusive social ethic. As well as producing affordable equipment, Kamal also actively works to recruit more women, and varying cultural backgrounds into the game: “we are very proud of our brand ambassador, Saba Nasim: a great woman who has helped many girls from different upbringings realise their potential. We are also involved with Capital Kids Cricket, who go into schools to deliver a program set out by the ECB to encourage greater participation from inner city youngsters in the game. We are also very proud of our association with the Essex County Cricket Club Multi-faith cricket tour to the Vatican.” In September 2017, Ganador sponsored a Multi-faith team to play against a team based in the Vatican City - and we very much look forward to welcoming them on their return trip to the UK in June/July this year. “It’s been an incredible journey and we are only getting bigger,” Kamal said. “We’ve had great praise and support from incredible cricketers such as Gareth Batty too. We’ve also had positive responses from professional teams, such as Surrey, who have come into the office to try the equipment and were voted number one for our bats on the merchandise site: ‘It’s Just Cricket’. Thus, just as much a social experience as an enterprise, the Ganador Squad not only put the heart into good business but capture the very essence of their sport as they do it. “We represent grass-roots cricket and accessibility for all,” Danny aptly concluded. “We wanted to be fair and include everyone. That’s initially why we expanded out into miscellaneous products: a good plastic set, say, could be a child’s introduction to the game.” Through its literal equivalent, Ganador show how genuine devotion can propel you in the proverbial professional field.
How exactly does the Ganador Helmet incorporate safety?
Designs are developed so they perform to the impact protection standard. The technology involved is double-shelf. There are two layers of protection: the polycarbonate plastic shell of the helmet and the second, interior layer of protection, covered by cloth, is a more rigid material. It’s moulded to the interior of the exterior of the product. You want to be protected against what is essentially a missile that could be coming at you at anything up to 90 miles per hour.
What have been some of your proudest moments with your star equipment?
Punam Raut, an Indian Women international cricketer, wore our helmet while scoring a century in the 2017 Women's World Cup against Australia. It’s also been great to have cricketers who play the game come back to us so impressed with the quality of our merchandise. Finally, it’s good to be getting more people from European countries to play the game. It’s already quite big in Asia.
Name another ambassador for Ganador?
Ryan Karuna. He’s the fifteen-year old captain of Essex Under 15s. He was another obvious choice for us as he is a talented young person with a bright future.
Finally, Danny as a media manager, was there a specific trick to boosting traffic on the site?
It’s quite simple if you’ve the vision in mind: have good spelling and grammar; make sure the general layout of the website is appealing and clean e.g. example easy accessibility to the homepage.