Advani excited to play billiards in his 'second home'

Advani last played an international billiards event in March (Asian billiards championship), but as a multiple world champion in this discipline, he enters the IBSF World Billiards Championship as a favourite.

Pankaj Advani World Billiards Championship

Pankaj Advani will be competing at the World Billiards Championship in Bengaluru, just a few days after winning a bronze medal at the World Snooker Championship.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

The Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) holds a special place in Pankaj Advani’s heart. The cue sports exponent sharpened his skills here as a youngster and continues to use the facility as his home base.

Advani is, therefore, thrilled to compete in the IBSF World Billiards Championship, which commences at KSBA on Monday. “I’m very excited. KSBA is like my second home — I have spent so much time here,” he told Sportstar here on Saturday.

A few days ago, the Bengalurean took the bronze medal at the IBSF World Snooker Championship in Doha. Advani last played an international billiards event in March (Asian billiards championship), but as a multiple world champion in this discipline, he enters the tournament as a favourite.

“It is never easy to switch between snooker and billiards. The technique and mental approach needed is quite different. Not many people will truly understand how tough it is to juggle between these two formats. Ideally, I would have liked a few more days to prepare, but the snooker circuit kept me busy. I think my billiards flow will come back a couple of days into the event,” he said.

Advani explained that he enjoys the challenge of switching between formats. “Once you get into a rhythm, playing billiards feels fantastic. Yes, I have not played billiards in a few months, but this challenge excites me," he said.

The 31-year-old dwelt on some of the changes that he will be required to make in his game. “In snooker, we usually hit the cue ball in the centre or at the bottom. In billiards, we use a lot of top-ball. The bridge, therefore, is higher in billiards,” he said.

Advani gave his view on the field. “Peter Gilchrist and I have had many long and close matches in the past. Rob Hall is also a very good player, and he has improved a lot recently. And of course, we have many fine Indian players in the fray as well. The field may not be big, but it is strong,” he said.