ELEAGUE: Daniel ‘DDK’ Kapadia on career longevity and adapting to the scene

Daniel 'DDK' Kapadia (right) casts a match with James Bardolph in the ELEAGUE studio. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Turner Sports.
Daniel 'DDK' Kapadia (right) casts a match with James Bardolph in the ELEAGUE studio. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Turner Sports. /

What’s the secret to Daniel “DDK” Kapadia’s success? The ELEAGUE caster spoke to FanSided about career longevity and adapting to the Counter-Strike scene.

Turner and IMG’s ELEAGUE would have a hard time finding a commentator as chill as Daniel “DDK” Kapadia. No matter where the next Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game takes him, DDK always keeps things cool for the audience — and never seems like he’s doing anything more than hanging out with his friends.

During the current ELEAGUE CSGO Premier, FanSided sat down with Daniel to talk about how he and longtime casting partner James Bardolph have made it work for so long, and the challenges of keeping up with an increasingly chaotic Counter-Strike scene.

Learn more about Daniel “DDK” Kapadia below, and be sure to catch him casting in the ELEAGUE CSGO Premier playoffs this week on Twitch, YouTube and ELEAGUE Game Command.

FanSided: What’s the biggest challenge for you as a Counter-Strike commentator? Is the job harder with all the changes that have been taking place in the pro scene?

Daniel “DDK” Kapadia (DDK): I think one of the biggest challenges is keeping up with everything that’s happening. There’s just an insane amount of things happening all the time, and sometimes you want a bit of a break. But you can’t really afford to stop and just take that break and ignore what’s happening for the last two tournaments that might be going on during that week that you want to take away.

That would be one thing. But also from a commentator perspective, I think continual self-review of what you’re doing can also be difficult. It never gets easier to do as well.

FanSided: Has your casting preparation changed at all with the many developments we’re seeing right now, like the various roster shuffles?

DDK: It’s weird. I think sometimes you just do rely on the fact that we don’t understand the team configurations just yet, but we at least understand the history of the brands, the history of the players. We know enough about the players, so that’s really what gets you through it in many respects, because you always have that. That will speak volumes of how a team will manifest itself eventually in competition.

FanSided: You and James Bardolph have established yourselves as one of CSGO‘s best casting duos and you’ve been together a long time. Is there a secret to that longevity between you two?

DDK: [It’s] the type of people we are. We’re both very laid back and we both have sort of an inherent respect for one another. I’m very understanding, I’m very chilled out, and he’s the same way as well. So that means that there are enough mechanisms that if we do have an issue, that it can be solved.

To be honest, the only issues we’ve ever really had that could cause any disagreement are because we’re both really tired. (laughs) Sometimes with the jet lag and traveling a lot, you don’t sleep very much, you get very tired and irritable. That’s the only real time we would have a disagreement that wasn’t solved immediately, but then things calmed down rather quickly.

Something I’ve noticed about a lot of friends I’ve had in the past — we’d go on holiday and spend time with them for a few days, and you’re like, I’m sick of this person. But I never really get that with James. I think it’s because we respect each other’s space, generally speaking. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

FanSided: The rotating desk at the ELEAGUE CSGO Premier has allowed you to spend more time as an analyst. Have you enjoyed that opportunity to provide additional insight?

DDK: It’s really nice. In the past I used to do a lot of analysis, and that’s how I became known in the community in some respects. I gained popularity because people saw I was putting in the work, and I had my YouTube channel where I was popping out analytical content. I was always very hungry to get any chance to break the chains of commentary and jump onto the analyst desk in the past.

Now it’s kind of going back into that role a little bit, talking about the game from a slightly different light. Commentator and analyst are two different characters completely, and commentators can say things in a way that an analyst can’t and vice versa, so that’s quite nice. For me, I’m very easygoing working with anybody, so it’s nice.

FanSided: What’s the one thing about casting that you’d want people to know?

DDK: I care very much about doing service to the fans and to the players, for their passion for the game, and the integrity of the competition around the game. That’s the most important thing.

In my course of doing that, I’ve realized I can’t please everybody. Some people are like different flavors of ice cream, they’ll like these commentary guys or they won’t like you for whatever reason. So I just try to focus on what I’m doing, and I hope whatever that is gives people some extra value to the game and helps them connect to their passion a bit better. That’s all I’m after, really.

FanSided: There was the quip during one ELEAGUE broadcast about the proper way to say your last name. How often do people mispronounce it?

DDK: James didn’t believe me how it was supposed to be pronounced. (laughs) Then we ran across another person called Kapadia. It’s a very famous common name in India, and it’s an Indian name, and he asked this very Indian-looking person how to say his name and he said it how I do. So I felt very vindicated in that moment.

Next: ELEAGUE's James Bardolph talks personality in esports

For more with Daniel “DDK” Kapadia, be sure you’re following him on Twitter. The ELEAGUE CSGO Premier playoffs continue this week on Twitch and YouTube, with the Grand Final Friday on TBS.