“Representing India in CS: GO Finals of the 13th Esports World Championship is a dream come true”: Ritesh Sarda | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


When it comes to the world of FPS games, CS: GO has been ruling the esports scene since 2012. However, the competitive scene has seen a gradual decline since the arrival of Valorant.

In such a scenario, the 13th Esports World Championship, hosted by the International Esports Federation (IESF), has renewed the hopes of CS: GO enthusiasts the world over. The Regional Qualifiers have ended, and the Finals will be held from 14 November to 19 November in Eilat, Israel.

The Indian CS: GO team for the 13th Esports World Championship (Image via ESFI)

Gamers from the nation were especially excited as the Indian team of Ritesh Sarda, Shuvajyoti Chakraborty, Anshul Adardkar, Hrishikesh Shenoy, and Harsh Jain successfully cinched the South Asian Regionals to qualify for the Finals.

In a conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Debolina Banerjee, Ritesh Sarda, the team captain, talked about his journey in the professional gaming world, the upcoming World Championship, and more.

Q. Take us through your journey in the world of professional gaming. How old were you when you started playing CS: GO? What other games did you play in your childhood?

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17 years ago, the mystery of the Sands of Time were revealed. Happy anniversary to one of our favorite adventures with the Prince of Persia! https://t.co/XHfhFFjW7w

Ritesh: Hi, I am Ritesh Sarda, also known as DEFAULTER in the professional scene. I am from Silchar, Assam. I started playing video games when I was six years old. My elder brother took me to a cyber cafe near my house, which was the first time I played Counter-Strike. I have played almost all the versions of Counter-Strike. I have been playing CS: GO professionally since 2016.

I played Need for Speed, Prince of Persia, Mortal Kombat, MotoGP, Half-Life, and many other PC games during my childhood.


Q. Venturing into the world of esports and making it a career is quite challenging. What trials and tribulations did you have to face in the initial days? Did you have to convince your parents, or were they supportive from the very beginning?

Ritesh: Making a career in esports is quite difficult, especially in India. There are very few opportunities to prove oneself and get picked up by an organization. In the initial days, I searched for a team to prove my worth. Later, I made my own team and decided to grind and participate in the tier one competitions in India. With time, my teammates and I established ourselves in the professional scene to become one of the top teams in India.

My parents were very supportive from the beginning. My father always backed me and gave me the freedom to chase my dreams. He believed in me and gave me the confidence to achieve what I desired.


Q. When it comes to FPS games, Valorant is considered a tough competition to CS: GO. How differently do you think the developers of these games handle the respective professional scenarios in India? What contributes to the humungous popularity of Valorant in the country?

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This patch removes that were haunting your game, you can now hide your Account Level from the in ranked, and we added persistent feedback on your player reports. Read Patch Notes 3.08: riot.com/3lS9hLA https://t.co/mGwfp2ES76

Ritesh: Valorant is a tough competition for CS: GO when it comes to the FPS genre. However, both the games are unique on their own terms.

According to me, both titles’ developers have different approaches when it comes to contributing to the professional scene in the country.

The main reason behind the humongous popularity of Valorant in India is the professional scene of CS: GO in India. It has started to get colder and colder with time. The PUBG Mobile ban in India and Riot’s release of Valorant were perfectly timed.

Due to the game’s uniqueness, people started liking it, and the professional players of both CS: GO and PUBG Mobile started promoting it to a great extent with the help of Riot. Since most pros switched to Valorant, it created great hype and built a vast viewership base in the country.


Q. CS: GO does not have a good competitive scenario in India. Does the lack of tier 1 tournaments hurt the competitive scene? What do you think Valve can do to improve the situation?

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Before Act II ends, here’s a shout out to the players who closed out the Episode 3 Act I North America Leaderboards with some notable numbers. How will you finish Act II? https://t.co/W4p95ODmm0

Ritesh: Due to the lack of tier 1 tournaments, players lose motivation, and sponsors are hesitant to fund the CS: GO teams. As a result, top players in the country have shifted to Valorant.

To revive CS: GO in India, frequent tournaments with a bigger prize pool must be conducted. This move will motivate existing gamers to continue and will also boost the youngsters to keep grinding. Valve needs to give more slots to South Asian countries in the Asian qualifiers so that the teams can prove themselves on bigger stages.


Q. There are many professional gamers who like to use apps like Faceit or SoStronk. Have you ever used such third-party apps? Do you think these applications have an impact on the competitive scenario of CS: GO?

Ritesh: Yes, I have been using Faceit and SoStronk for the past three to four years. I think these platforms are really good as they provide good servers with 128 tickrate. Also, all good the gamers play on this platform.

Valve matchmaking servers run on 64 tickrate, which is less smooth than the 128 tickrate. Moreover, there are many hackers in matchmaking, which ruins the whole experience.


Q. CS: GO’s recent major update, Operation Riptide just rolled out. What are the best introductions that Valve came up with during this update? Do you think the update will help in popularizing the game both casually and competitively?

Ritesh: In my opinion, the best introduction in the new update is that we can now drop nades, just like weapons, to our teammates. I think that makes the game more interesting. The new operation is really good and has fantastic skins that players can try on.

The new matchmaking system in CS: GO will attract more casual gamers, and I think the player base will keep growing. The M4A1 buff will also force more users to switch from the M4A4.


Q. CS: GO has its fair share of professional gamers. Who’s your favorite player? Which team (Indian or international) do you look up to?

Ritesh: My favorite player is NiKo (Nikola Kovač). He is one of the best mechanically gifted aimers, and I always wanted to play like him. In my initial days, I followed Team Fnatic and looked up to FaZe and G2.


Q. Despite the popularity of CS: GO in the esports world, it has not been included in the 2022 Asian Games. Do you think it was the right move? How important do you feel inclusion is when it comes to popularizing titles like CS: GO?

Ritesh: No, in my opinion, it was not the right decision. I think CS: GO is one of the oldest and most popular games of all time. It also has an excellent professional scene worldwide, aside from a huge fan following and viewership.

Inclusion in the 2022 Asian Games would have motivated many players who play the game passionately. It would also have encouraged young gamers to pursue and achieve something great.


Q. Congratulations on qualifying for the Finals of the 13th Esports World Championship. You and your team dominated throughout the event. Which side was the most formidable competitor? How does it feel to help India gain respect at a global level?

Ritesh: I want to give a big thank you to everybody who has wished for us to qualify for the World Championship. As far as the competitors go, every team was equal in our vision. We never treated anybody like an underdog or a favorite.

The main goal was to beat everybody by ensuring that we performed at our best level, irrespective of the opposition. If each and every one of us is displaying perfection individually, then we believe that we are unstoppable.

Representing India is a dream come true for my teammates and me. We have been playing for so many years, and everybody who is a professional player wants to represent their country at the biggest stage possible.

In this case, representing our country at an international LAN event is a cherry on the top. We plan to put India’s name on the map as far as PC gaming is concerned, and we are looking forward to upsetting some big teams in Eilat.

We want to showcase what we are capable of and what Counter-Strike means to Indians.


Q. The Final of the 13th Esports World Championship is less than a month away. How are you and your team preparing? What is the most crucial aspect you think every side should possess while playing major tournaments?

Ritesh: Everyone is excited for the LAN finals in Eilat. We are trying to practice individually and as a unit as well. We are working to the best of our abilities to micromanage and cut down on mistakes.

We are more inclined to run defaults, take map control, and win rounds where we have a disadvantage. These minor corrections, along with perfect communication, will lead us closer to victory.

The most important aspects a team should possess during major tournaments are composure, dedication, and a willingness to strike back from any point in the game. Keeping one’s head up and facing, whatever happens, is the best way to win as a team.

Opponents’ overconfidence can be our route to victory, but also vice versa. Hence, it is imperative to be focused and not get carried away due to any external factors, especially mentally.

Q. The Finals of the 13th Esports World Championship are all set to be held offline in Eilat, Israel. Now that offline esports competitions are slowly coming back into existence after Covid 19 restrictions, what is the one advantage of offline esports tournaments over online gaming competitions, according to you?

Ritesh: We are delighted to see that LAN gaming is now coming back after the pandemic. The one advantage of offline gaming is that it gives the advantage of the same ping to both teams. So no one can complain about ping issues.

Moreover, the same setup is also vital. All gamers will be provided with the same platform to perform. Lastly, the team spirit is elevated as we can feel the presence of every teammate. Hence, we can motivate, improve, and boost each other’s morale.

Also, it’s important to mention that every esports athlete who wants to compete at an international level must have their passports ready. In our case, a special note of thanks to ESFI for helping our team get the passports in time. From the qualifiers to travel formalities, the whole process has been such a smooth experience.

We look forward to getting a medal and making India proud.

Q. Do you have a message for your fans who are rooting for your team’s win in the 13th Esports World Championship?

Ritesh: Cheers to all the fans for supporting us throughout the journey. Your support gave us the tickets to achieve our dreams, and we will make sure that you guys are not disappointed.

We will see that you all witness some exciting stuff. Winning and losing are part and parcel of any game. All that matters is enjoyment, so let’s enjoy the game.





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