I was definitely worried and had even given up because I never thought I would get another chance. He was on the table and had he remained there, it was all over. By a stroke of luck he missed and left a position to score and take a slender lead.
What was your preparation for the final against Rob Hall. Did you speak to B Bhaskar about his semi final against Rob Hall?
Yes Bhaskar and I did speak but I must say it was an impressive performance by him. 2 medals coming to Bengaluru is fantastic! Against Rob I knew I had to start well and keep scoring. I did just that.
Did the large Indian contingent have fun together ? did they get along well in the tournament considering they played each other so much ?
We share a healthy camaraderie. Off the table, we dine together and discuss our matches, even when it was against each other. We are a great unit.
In an interview you mentioned a talk with Ronnie O sullivan that led you back to India and a subsequent 4 world titles. Please elaborate on the discussion you had and its impact.
He saw me practice a few months after I started my stint in the UK. We started chatting. and he was all praise for how well I had played in my first year there. He then asked if I was truly happy doing that. That really got me thinking. I then realized that while I was happy to an extent playing snooker, there was something missing – billiards
I always knew there was a lot to gain by playing there but I also felt incomplete without the 3-ball sport. His riveting question put things in perspective. I guess a player (especially of his calibre and experience) empathizes easily with another. I did persist with a second season of the English snooker but such a long break from billiards
had to end sooner or later. I chose to withdraw my card English tour card from this season, and instead got to participate in 4 world championships this year instead. So glad I made that decision.
What is your schedule beyond the World Snooker tournament next month?
I definitely need a break. I’m currently switching to snooker only a few hours break after the intense 2 world billiards
championships. There hasn’t been a chance to celebrate the ‘grand double’ victory.
How do you plan to manage snooker and billiards going forward?
Like I always have. It comes naturally and isn’t something I have to think about. I’ll wait for the calendar of events for next year and then plan accordingly.
Tell us about your coach, Arvind Savur. Has the return to India led to more coaching sessions?
Yes, he has played a major role in my success. Whatever he has taught me has made all the difference. I am highly indebted to him.
An Indian Commentator had mentioned in Sports Star that you had picked up a basic flaw due to poor coaching! Would you say 12 world titles are Not bad for someone with a basic flaw?
Nobody’s game is perfect. I focus on the positives and optimise them, that’s how I operate. I am very happy with my technique and I owe it all to Arvind Savur. No one else could’ve had this kind of impact.
Finally, what would be your message for young snooker/billiard players in India. Also should they stick to a specific sport or play both ?
Try out as much as you can. Participate in as much as possible. And wait for your calling. I kept playing both and loved doing that, hence the calling I kept getting was, “Keep going!”.
So with this Message from Pankaj Advani, we urge youngsters to participate as much as possible ..and wait for their calling ..