Mumbai: Two-time Asian champion Yasin Merchant on Sunday prodded ace cueist Aditya Mehta to surpass his record as the highest ranked Indian at 65 on the professional circuit.
"He is taking too long, in fact very long, to reach the ranking which I achieved and to break it. He is much better than what I was. He needs to focus, he needs to regroup all his energy and I see that he is a player who will be in the top 16 and we will be felicitating him probably five years from now, when he comes back as the world No.1 in professional snooker," said Yasin.
Yasin was the highest ranked Indian at 65 in the 1990s. In the past, only Geet Sethi, Yasint and Manan Chandra have managed to qualify for the pro circuit.
The reigning Asian snooker champion, Mehta, is currently ranked 73rd in the world and his highest was 67 last year.
He recently won the gold medal in the World Games in Cali, Columbia.
Former national champion Yasin praised the 27-year old Mehta for his hard work and dedication.
"I would like to draw a parallel between Aditya Mehta and Sachin Tendulkar. Aditya also grew up from the junior ranks. I have seen him when he was playing in the junior events. He was not a talented youngster. He did not have a natural gift or a natural talent. He too has worked his way up. He actually epitomises perseverance, determination and a never-say-die attitude to succeed," Yasin said on the sidelines of the Sports Journalists` Association of Mumbai awards.
"Aditya has ventured into the professional snooker and it is one tough field. To play the best, you need to go out there in England, live amongst them, learn their game and beat them at their game. This is what he is doing right now. I had taken a plunge into professional snooker and he has carried the legacy forward," he added.
It has been a very tough decision for me to make which is why I have given it so much thought since the World Cup.