For the first time in the history of the world billiards championship, Indians will not take part in the traditional 'time' format of the game and restrict themselves to the more popular 'points' format.
Nine Indians are taking part in the world meet to be held in Carlow, Ireland, from August 24 to September 1. All of them, including multiple-time world champions Pankaj Advani and Geet Sethi, have decided to stay away from the 'time' format because they think it will not survive for long.
The world championship used to be held in the traditional format only, in which a match lasts from four to eight hours. In the shorter format, the player who gets to 150 points before his opponent, wins that frame and matches are best of five or seven frames.
The popularity of the shorter version prompted authorities to introduce it in the world championship in 2005 and since then, the meet has had both formats. Indians had been taking part in both versions until last year. "Often in the longer format, a game can get over as a contest after two hours with one player taking a huge lead. From the spectators and sponsors' point of view, it becomes uninteresting," said Sourav Kothari, a member of the squad, which leaves for Carlow on Sunday.
The 'points' format will be played from August 24-28.
Squad: G Sethi, P Advani, R Shah, D Sitwala, A Kumar, S Kothari, A Shandilya, D Joshi, B Bhaskar. Coach: Subhash Agarwal.