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Different ball game, same interests

other Updated: May 05, 2012 00:07 IST
Nilankur Das

The popularity of the Indian Premier League across the different spectra of society is debatable, but the concept of T20 as a format has made inroads into other sports.

Cuesports can be a case in point. Sidelining the time format in billiards, to introducing six red snooker, 8-ball and 9-ball pool and carom, were endeavours to make the sport more compact and competitive and trying to get the sport into the Olympics.

So during the inauguration of the Kolkata Open National Invitation Snooker Championships at the Hindustan Club on Friday, when the trademark IPL siren reverberated in the hall, it did not seem out of place.

But when seven-time world champion Pankaj Advani rattled on about the IPL, the few who had caught up with him over lunch were presently surprised. “Royal Challengers is my team because I am from Bangalore, but I support Pune Warriors as well.

“That is because of my very close friend Robin Uthappa,” said the 26-year-old Advani, who has entered the Professional Snooker League as a wild card after finishing runners-up at the Asian Snooker Championships in Doha. This makes Advani the only current cueist in the world who will play on the professional tours in both billiards and snooker.

“I won't be able to see the match at Eden because I have to rush to Bangalore on Saturday evening due to some prior engagements and that is also the reason I am not playing in this tournament. But if Robin plays well tomorrow, it would be difficult for the Knight Riders. He is a genuine match-winner, especially in this format,” Advani said.