Indian cueists look to conquer World Billiards Team Championship
New Delhi: Having displayed their individual brilliance on the green baize, the Indian cueists are now ready to deliver as a team in the inaugural IBSF World Billiards Team Championship, which commences in Glasgow Monday.
Pankaj Avani, who recently made the country proud again by not only winning the IBSF World 6-Red Snooker Championship but also creating a unique record of winning world titles in the longer and shorter formats of both billiards and snooker, has teamed up with veteran cueists with an eye on another world title.
"After the 6-Red World Championship this is the next major I am going to participate in. So from the short format in snooker to the long one in billiards is a shift to the other end of the spectrum. But that`s what I thrive on - specialising in two sports," Advani told PTI ahead of the four-day event.
The Bangalorean, who has won nine World titles of which seven are from billiards, has Rupesh Shah, Devendra Joshi and Ashok Shandiliya in his team.
Advani, 29, believes consistency and teamwork will be key to success.
"There are teams from all over the world so one can expect a really good standard. The key will be consistency from all team members. If that happens, we can hope for the best possible outcome," India`s poster boy of cue sports said.
The other Indian team comprises former World snooker winner Alok Kumar, reigning Asian snooker champion Sourav Kothari, Asian Games bronze medallist (1998) Balachandra Bhaskar and two-time world billiards runner-up Dhruv Sitwala.
National snooker champion Kothari, whose father is a former world billiards champion and is travelling with the team as national coach, is keen to make his mark in the world of billiards as well.
"I feel surprised when people say that billiards is a dying art. I used to listen to that stuff when my father was playing as well. So billiards is a lovely art and certainly here to stay. I want to excel in billiards as much as I want to succeed in snooker," Kothari told PTI.
Top players from all around the cue sport world will be contesting for the coveted title. While England have sent a team comprising four players, Scotland have got the maximum entries of four teams with 15 players in all. Ireland and Austria have also sent their respective teams of three players each.
The organisers of the mega-event have confirmed that players may be subjected to drug testing in accordance with the WCBS Drugs in Sport Policy.
The winners and the runners-up will be awarded medals apart from the 4000 Pounds prize money up for grabs.
There will also be cash-awards for the highest break, highest one-hour score (Group Stage) and highest team score (Group Stage).