Pankaj Advani praises team work for Asian championship win

Returning from Bishek, after the triumph against Pakistan in the final, Advani acknowledged that both his teammates Laxman Rawat and Malkeet Singh played a significant part.

(From left to right): Malkeet Singh, Pankaj Advani and Laxman Rawat, pose with the Asian Snooker Team Championship trophy in New Delhi on Friday.   -  Special Arrangements

Multiple world champion, Pankaj Advani praised his team mates for putting it together in driving India to the trophy in the Asian snooker championship.

Returning from Bishek, Kyrgyzstan, after the triumph against Pakistan in the final, Advani acknowledged that both his teammates Laxman Rawat and Malkeet Singh played a significant part.

“Everyone cannot play at the same level every day, every time. This is so special because we all gelled together so well. Everyone had an equal part to play, whether it was Malkeet in the initial stages or Laxman towards the end along with me. We all did our bit at the right time”, Advani said, at the SAI-BSFI National Cue Sports Academy in the Capital on Friday.

India had beaten Iran and Thailand on the way to subduing Pakistan in the final.

“People talk a lot more when it comes to an India-Pakistan encounter. That added pressure is there. You do feel the nerves at times”, he remarked about bouncing back from a “missed pink” in the doubles match of the final to beat Pakistan.

“I told him to calm down. You are human. You have to be poker faced, you can’t show anything. One shot later we got the next chance and it all came down to me to finish it off”, recalled Advani, about his interaction with Laxman who had fumbled with the pink, after a brilliant response from being 0-53 down with a break of 49.

Advani quoted the examples of badminton and kabaddi as two games that have made distinct progress in India thanks to consistent television coverage. “If you want to develop a sports culture, you have to follow your sport day in day out”, he said.

Having won the Asian billiards title earlier in the season, and getting the snooker trophy now, Advani felt that it was time to train the focus on the World Championship in Egypt in August.

He was all praise for the Sports Authority of India (SAI) funded cue sports academy run by the national federation.

“It is wonderful. Most are between 20 to 30 years. It is great that SAI and BSSF have got together. Now more youngsters will have access to the game”, he said.