Cue Slam aims to make it big

The latest entrant to the franchise based league system — Cue Slam — will feature five teams of star players, who will engage in exciting ties of Snooker and Pool at the Rajpath Club in Ahmedabad over the next week.

All icon players from their respective franchisees unveiling the trophy in the presence of BSFI Secretary General B Subramaniam and MDs of SportzLive Prasad Mangipudi and Atul Pande.   -  Special Arrangement

India’s 6 Reds national champion and World Cup bronze medalist Pankaj Advani, will take on Wales’ Andrew Pagett in the opening 6 Reds match of the inaugural Rs. 50 lakh prize money Cue Slam — Indian Cue Masters League — at the Rajpath Club here on Saturday.

The multiple world champion in IBSF billiards and snooker championships, Advani, has been nominated as the icon player by Chennai Strikers and Pagett has been nominated as the same by Gujarat Kings.

The other three teams in the five-team league are Hyderabad Hustlers, Bengaluru Buddies and Delhi Dons.

The Strikers will play Kings and the Buddies will play Dons on the opening day of the league. Sony ESPN will telecast the matches from 6 p.m. onwards.

"Only the snooker matches (6 Reds mixed doubles, 6 Reds Icon v Icon and 6 Reds single frame for non-Icon Indian players) will be shown live. The snooker and 9 ball pool will be played simultaneously on two separate tables," said Devendra Joshi, Technical Director of the league. He added, "All the players have arrived."

Joshi, the BSFI  secretary S. Balasubramaniam, and Sportzlive have created the unique format that’s not played anywhere in the world.

"India has been waiting for a league like this. I am happy to see that it is taking off, that too with so many top players in the fray. We (Chennai Strikers) have experience and youth on our side. We will take some beating.

"The skill of veteran Dharminder Lilly and Faisal Khan and the energy of Vidya Pillai and Pandu Rangaiah makes it a perfect mix,’’ said Advani, who lost to China’s Ding Junhui in the 6 Reds World Cup semi-final last year in Bangkok.

At a press conference here on Friday, Pagett said: "We have a great team and are confident of going all the way. Cue Slam is a great step forward. It will take the sport to the masses and I am glad to be a part of the home team.’’ Pagett had won the 2015 Indian Open.

Former Asian snooker champion Alok Kumar, Brijesh Damani and Sourav Kothari, three-time European ladies team champion, Russia’s Daria Sirotina are the others in the Kings team.

The Dons team will be led by six-time World Snooker and seven-time European champion Kelly Fisher. Wales’ Laura Evans, India’s Malkeet Singh, Manan Chandra and Pushpender Singh are part of the Delhi franchise.

Each team comprises five players — 1 icon player, 1 female player and 3 men players with the stipulation that at least three of them are Indians.

The teams:

Chennai Strikers: Pankaj Advani (Icon), Vidya Pillai, Dharminder Lilly, Faisal Khan, E. Pandurangaiah. Coach: G. Kishore Khurana.

Hyderabad Hustlers: Amir Sarkhosh (Icon), Amee Kamani, Kamal Chawla, Lucky Vatnani, Anuj Uppal. Coach: Manoj Kothari.

Bengaluru Buddies: Darren Morgan (Icon), Anastasia Nechaeva, Sundeep Gulati, Varun Madan, Laxman Rawat. Coach: Derek Sippy.

Delhi Dons: Kelly Fisher (Icon), Laura Evans, Pushpender Singh, Manan Chandra, Malkeet Singh. Coach: Tanuj Kohli.

Gujarat Kings: Andrew Pigget (Icon), Daria Sirotina, Alok Kumar, Sourav Kothari, Brijesh Damani. Coach: Ashok Shandilya.

Format of Play:

Round robin league matches followed by knock-out (top four teams will play the semi-finals).

Each tie will consist of five matches: 1. 6 Red Snooker, Mixed Doubles (set to 3 frames), this will be played as “Alternate Shot” 2.  6 Red Snooker, Icon player v Icon player (set to 3 frames) 3. 6 Red Snooker, Indian player, but non-icon (set to 1 frame) 4. 9 Ball Pool, male player (Race to 2 (whoever wins 2 racks) 5. 9 Ball Pool, mixed doubles (Race to 2 (Whoever wins 2 racks)

A few important rules:

1. All players in the team must play a minimum of two matches during the round robin stage.

2.  Each 6 Reds snooker frame and 9 ball pool rack will have a time limit of 10 minutes.

3. There shall be a shot clock of 20 seconds for 6 Reds and 9 Ball pool.

Points:

1. 1 point for winning a match

2. 1 bonus for making a total clearance break of 75 points

3. 1 bonus point for ‘Golden Break’ (i.e. pocketing the 9 Ball on break)