Pankaj Advani among top cueists for PSPB tournament

ONGC’s Pankaj Advani and  BPCL’s Manan Chandra will also take part only in the team competitions.

Pankaj Advani would take part in the 14th PSPB Inter Unit Billiards and Snooker Tournament from Tuesday. (File Photo)   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

After exhibiting some fine work with the cue in the Cricket Club of India (CCI) Open snooker tournament that concluded in Mumbai on Sunday, majority of India’s top class players have assembled here for the BPCL 14th PSPB inter-unit Billiards and Snooker  tournament at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana.

Over the years a handful of petroleum and oil industry companies have given jobs to the serious practitioners of cue sport and the players in turn feel obliged to show their commitment to take part in a tournament that will feature the two main disciplines  of cue sport; billiards and snooker.

A minor neck-related injury enabled eight season-long professional Aditya Mehta to leave his base in UK and return home for the CCI and also the PSPB event. He will represent Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in the team events. Likewise, ONGC’s Pankaj Advani and  BPCL’s Manan Chandra will also take part only in the team competitions as they would be playing in the IBSF-ACBS World team championship in Doha from February 27 to March 2. India’s second entry for the Doha event is Shahbaz Adil Khan and Malkeet Singh.

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Talking about the  PSPB tournament, BPCL’s Devendra Joshi, an accomplished player and who will be overseeing the five-day event, said: ``The players will be under pressure. Points are there to be won by each unit because, at the conclusion of all PSPB events  in different sport, the top team gets the President’s Cup. PSPB teams collectively and individually take part in many tournaments in hockey and kabaddi. But billiards and snooker is an individual sport and hence this is the only tournament they get a chance  to compete among themselves. The short format makes it very interesting. Young S. Shrikrishna is on scholarship with BPCL and he will be playing in a side that has Chandra, Shahbaz Adil Khan and myself.’’

The other main teams are IOC that will be represented by Mehta, Brijesh Damani, Laxman Rawat and Dhvaj Haria, ONGC represented by Advani, Rupesh Shah, Alok Kumar, Sourav Kothari and Dhruv Sitwala. GAIL will be represented by Asutosh Padhi, who defeated Advani  in the recent snooker nationals and Ishpreet Singh Chadha.

ONGC won the team title in both billiards and snooker at the 13th PSPB inter-unit in  Chandigarh last year. Kothari won the billiards and snooker open titles and emulated Advani.

The 23rd PSPB inter-unit kabaddi tournament will also be held at the same venue. ONGC, BPCL,  CPCL, MRPL and EIL will play a round robin league, a total of ten matches, to determine the winner.

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