Sourav Kothari looking forward to bond as a team with Alok Kumar

Kolkata: Sourav Kothari is now looking forward to team bonding with Alok Kumar against whom he won the title bouts to win the national and Asian titles.

The duo will form the core of India`s campaign at the World Billiards team championships in Glasgow beginning on Monday.

"It`s really a dicey format. The main aim is to gel well with your partner. You have to get to know each other," Kothari, who would lead the India A team also comprising Alok Kumar, B Bhaskar and Dhruv Sitwala, told PTI.

The India B team comprises Rupesh Shah, Pankaj Advani, Ashok Shandilya and Devendra Joshi as each country is allowed to send two entries with three players and one reserve.

The 29-year-old is in the a prime phase of his career beginning with his maiden national title defeating Alok Kumar in February.

Continuing his momentum, Kothari also annexed the Asian title in Chandigarh in June as Alok Kumar once again had to settle for the runner-up place.

"There`s no rivalry at all. It`s a team game and the good thing is both of us have been playing well. We get along quite well and know each other for quite a long time."

On his preparation, he said, "We have been in touch regularly for last 15 days and we`re looking forward to the meet. I`m sure we`ll get close competition from England but India have a very good chance."

His father and former world billiards champion Manoj Kothari will be the coach of the Indian contingent.
Talking about their relationship, he said, "It`s more of a student-teacher tie but he`s also a great friend and mentor with whom I share everything.

"He`s been travelling with me for long, it`s not only the game aspect but in inculcating manners too he`s helped me a lot. It`s a blessing for me," Kothari said.

Kothari also plans to meet Bengal sports minister Madan Mitra and seek his support to set up a billiards academy in the state.

"Till date, we don`t have place for even a small academy. We have the best coach in Manoj Kothari to take charge. The common perception is that billiards is an elite sport but we work hard as much as anybody else to achieve our goals. We have won so many titles and we deserve a bit more than what we`re getting."

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