New Delhi: Hailing China's 14-year-old sensation Yan Bingtao for his World Snooker title triumph, Indian ace Pankaj Advani said the youngster is extremely mature for his age but insisted that cueists peak only after crossing 25.
"As time goes on, the younger guys start on earlier and they grasp the game fast and understand it quickly. As for Bingtao, he is extremely mature for his age. But I still feel that the age when a player really peaks is between 25 and 35.
At that age, he is completely seasoned and mature enough as an individual and as a player," Advani said.
"I won it (world title) at the age of 18, a few years before me there was a guy who won it at the age of 17. A few years later in 2006 there was Michale White form Whales who won it at the age of 15. And now Bingtao winning it at the age of 14. Definitely the sport is becoming younger," the 29-year-old added.
Twelve-time world champion Advani, who has added four world titles to his illustrious shelf this year, might have lost in the quarter-finals to Bingtao but is more than satisfied with this "great" season.
"I have enjoyed my season and enjoyed some really good results. I don't know if I will ever be able to repeat a year like this. It's just been a phenomenal year for me. I have won so much and even if I lost the last one, you can't win them all," he said.
"It has obviously been very demanding of me to shift from billiards to snooker and play all major tournaments one after the other. Starting from June and the 6-Reds in Egypt and the World Team Championships in Scotland, world billiards time point and then immediately after that snooker. So it has been quite hectic," he added.
Calling UK and China as the two powerhouses of snooker, Advani insists that India needs a more structured format to produce more world beaters.
"I think we need a structured tour in India. We need to have programs, coaching sessions and brainstorming sessions. We need to be exposed to international snooker much more than we are right now. When I talk about the Indian players, they have one Asian Championship, one Under-21 Asian, one U-21 World and the main IBSF World Snooker Championship.
So in terms of exposure at the highest level, I think we need more of that," said Bengaluru's 'Golden Boy'.
Advani is also pinning his hopes on the newly appointed IBSF President Capt. Mohan to lift the game in India.
"And now with Capt. Mohan becoming the IBSF president we are all very hopeful and we do expect a lot from him. He has done great for the game as president of BSFI and now that he is the president of the international body we even more," he said.
Also putting his cue out in support of fellow sportsman, cricketer Phillip Hughes', tragic demise after being hit by a cricket ball, Advani said the incident has shocked the sporting world.
"I think the whole sporting fraternity is shocked after that incident involving Phil Hughes and his sudden demise. And just puts things in perspective that we can't take life for granted. We cannot take liberties all the time, our health especially. And it's very very sad and I also feel that now we need more safety measures in place. It's a freak accident but you never know what can go wrong," said Advani.
"Every sport has a certain amount of occupational hazard. Even in the game like snooker, your back can take a beating. Players have had operations and even quit the sport due to it.
Someone like Mark Selby almost gave up the game because he had such a major back problem. So cricket ofcourse with a leather ball is all the more dangerous," he added.