India was a little slow out of the starting blocks with esports and competitive video gaming. It’s been quickly catching up, though, with many of the organisers of the world’s biggest esports hosting events in the country.
This includes esports powerhouse ESL, which has been holding the 2020 India Premiership throughout June. The competition has a huge prize pool of ₹1.15 crore, split across the CounterStike: Global Offensive, Clash of Clans, FIFA 2020 and PlayUnknown’s Battlegrounds games.
Although hundreds of talented gamers take part in each competition, there are some top Indian gamers that stand out above the rest.
The then 23-year old, who is originally from Bhuj, Gujarat, lost in the semi-finals to the gold medalist from Hong Kong but kept his cool to beat the Vietnamese competitor 3-2 in the third-place playoff.
On his return to India, Mehta was met with a welcoming committee who congratulated him on his success.
He continues to be involved in esports today, working for an esports startup company.
Muskan Sethi is a professional poker player from New Delhi, who has seen success playing in online games and in real-world tournaments.
After trying several different career paths, including computing and fashion, Sethi tried her hand at becoming a professional poker player. She had fallen in love with the sport after watching tournaments on TV and started playing online to learn and practice poker strategy. Sethi appeared on the TV show, Shark Cage, which pits successful poker legends against amateur players.
This helped to get her career off the ground and led to her signing a deal with PokerStars to become an ambassador for the company in India. She now plays regularly in international tournaments, both in India and around the world.
Tejas Sawant, who is more commonly known as “ACE” is one of India’s best CounterStrike players. He moved to Indonesia in 2018 where he played as part of Team XCN for nine months. During that time he won in the ESEA Open Season 27 APAC.
He returned to India shortly afterwards, where he has since played for Signify, Orgless5ive, Entity Gaming, and Global Esports. According to Liquipedia, Sawant has not been part of a team since the end of May 2020.
Going by the screen name BlizzarD, Balaji Ramnarayan is an esports player who specialises in Dota 2. The 24-year-old is one of the highest-earning esports players in India, having won a significant number of competitions in recent years.
He finished first in the ESL Indian Premiership 2019 Winter Masters, the Taiwan Excellence Gaming Cup, and the ROG Onslaught competition. Having played for several teams since he began competing in 2016, he is now part of Global eSports.
Formerly known as DitterBitter, but now going by the shorter name Ditter, Mohir is a player of Old School Runescape, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that first appeared in the 2000s.
He got into some controversy last year though when it turned out that someone had been playing as him in a game. Others have also accused him of using bots to help him level up in the game.
Despite this though, he is still one of India’s highest-earning esports players.
Karan Mhadawadkar, who goes by the name of Excali, is a professional CounterStike: Global Offensive player. He’s currently ranked 6th for CS:GO players in India, and has managed earnings of more than $16,000 from competitions.
He’s won several major competitions, including the Mountain Dew Arena in 2017, 2018 and 2019; the ESL India Premiership Winter and Summer in 2018 and the COBX Indian Esports Championship in 2017.
He previously played as part of the Brutality team, but moved to Entity Gaming in 2019.