Wed, 29 Sep 2021

By Anuj MishraNew Delhi [India], September 7 (ANI): India's leading cueist Pankaj Advani is all set to return to international competitive snooker after two years and the 23-time world champion is "hoping to find decent form" in the group stages of Asian Snooker Championship and Qatar 6 Reds Snooker World Cup.

Pankaj Advani will be participating in ACBS Asian Snooker Championship from September 12-16 and Qatar 6 Reds Snooker World Cup coming up from September 17 to 21.

Pankaj, who has won two Asian Games gold medals, has been practising hard for the last one and half months to get into the groove after the COVID-19 induced break.

"While I have been practising hard for the last 40 days, the rhythm in terms of match play has definitely been affected. It's the same for others too, I guess! Hoping to find decent form in the group stages of these major events," Pankaj told ANI.

"It has been a start and stop kind of phase (COVID-19 pandemic) for all of us, especially in the sports arena where it is all about discipline and regularity.

"Coming to terms with this hasn't been easy but whenever the facilities were accessible, I have put in the hours. Playing in tournaments is a different ball game though," he added.

The multiple World Champion in billiards and snooker will be back in action after 24 months and he is "super excited" to play the upcoming tournaments.

"Very happy and grateful to finally play for India and compete in a game I love, that too two big back to back tournaments. I have missed competitive billiards and snooker so I'm super excited to travel to Doha soon and enjoy the process all over again," said Pankaj.

"There is always some amount of pressure and excitement every time you represent your country. The expectations are high but honestly, nobody knows how things are going to turn out. Sports events are unpredictable and even more so during COVID times," he added.

However, he did admit that finding the groove and staying in that mental space without any game time has made things difficult for the players.

"I must admit it isn't easy to regain your muscle memory and perfect your basics and technique because of the gaps in practise or competitive play," said Pankaj who is the only cueist in the world to have won World and Asian titles in all formats of both billiards and snooker.

"If there's one thing I look forward to as a challenge, it is to adapt to whatever conditions you're given and make the most of it. Trying to go with a more positive and philosophical approach this time considering all that the world has been through in the last two years," he signed off. (ANI)

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