Mumbai: Adjusting to the fast championship tables is one of the key areas for the six Indian wild cards to do well in the 300,000 pound sterling Indian Open Snooker Championship commencing here on March 10, said national champion Pankaj Advani on Sunday.
"The tables for the Indian Open championship are very fast. You have to use light cue touch. All of us wild cards have to get adjusted to these tables fast before our first qualifying game," said Advani during an interaction with reporters.
Advani, who made the semifinals in the first edition of the tournament in Delhi in 2013 before losing to compatriot Aditya Mehta, has the experience of playing on the professional snooker circuit for two years which, he hoped, should stand him in good stead.
"Winning the first match will give us confidence of a good run in the tournament," said Advani.
"I will definitely try to use my two years' experience on the pro circuit which should hold me in good stead," he said.
The Bengaluru-based Advani has to win his qualifying match against up and coming Welshman Rhys Clark on the first day of the event to make it to the 64-player main draw.
"I have not played him before but he's a much-improved player now and has wins over some top professionals," said the 29-year-old Advani.
Advani does not have any big expectations from the tournament though he's one of the most recognized faces in the country in the green baize game.
"I don't have any big expectations. All of us wild cards will be playing free of any pressure," he said.
Dharmender Lily, Brijesh Damani, Sumeet Talwar, Niraj Kumar and Faisal Khan are the other wild card recipients who all need to win one match to enter the main draw.
Advani said he was not sure whether the Delhi show of
reaching the semis could be replicated.
"It's obviously good if Indians do well, but I can't say if Delhi can be repeated. The main draw is unpredictable, especially in the best-of-seven matches. You can expect upsets and close games."
Advani said he had been practising for the last two weeks by being on the table for 3-4 hours daily.
"But these tables are vastly different," he remarked.
Talking about other Indians in the fray, apart from Aditya Mehta who has already qualified for the main draw, Advani said that Faisal Khan of the Railways has improved a lot.
"Faisal Khan has improved a lot. Lily is experienced, so too is Brijesh. It depends on how they handle it," he said.
Welcoming the proposed Asian tour announced by P V K Mohan, president of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation, yesterday, Advani said it will give a huge boost to Asian snooker.
"That's great news. Our players will not have to travel to UK and stay and play there for six to seven months. There will be 4-6 tournaments, I guess, and all of them will be knock-out ones. It will be very competitive as there are a lot of good Asians, especially the Chinese," he said.
Faisal Khan said he had played two major tournaments and recently lost in the final of the All India Open in Erode, Tamil Nadu, to Laxman Rawat.
"The conditions are different. The double-shaven cloth is very fast and you have to play only stuns and screw-backs. It's good that the tables have been laid out two days in advance and we can practice on them," said Khan who lost in the qualifying round yesterday.