Advani Withdraws from International Championship

Having defeated Craig Steadman, Steve Davis, Alan McManus and Michael Holt to qualify for his maiden professional venue, India’s Pankaj Advani has taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the tournament, due to a clash of dates with this World Billiards Championship. Click below for more and to see how that affects the draw for the tournament…

  • Click here to view the updated draw for the International Championship

As many of you may be aware, following his successful qualification for the International Championship, India’s Pankaj Advani has recently been faced with a dilemma as to whether he competes at the venue stage of that event, or instead enters the World Billiards Championship, a clash of dates preventing him from playing in both.

After much deliberation, the six-times world billiards champion has opted to enter the World Billiards Championship and withdraw from the International Championship.

Pankaj is quoted at as saying:

“It was a choice between two events, not between billiards and snooker as such,”

“I know how hard I have worked to qualify for the China tournament.

“I know how tough it’s been coming back from crunch situations against the top players and actually winning four matches in a row to qualify for the event. Obviously, it’s with a lot of pain that I have to let go of it. But again, the world billiards is an event I have thoroughly enjoyed playing,”

“Obviously, I am losing out on a chance to make more ranking points but my points for the stage I have reached and the prize money for that stage is secure,”

While some snooker fans might be surprised, given his status in the game of billiards and the relative lack of tournaments available in that discipline, he has taken the decision that I expected him to take, and fully understand his reasons for doing so. As he says above, the ranking points that he has earned for reaching the last 32 in Chengdu are secure which is important, otherwise the decision for him may have been far tougher.

In fact I think that it is to Advani’s credit that he has taken the decision to withdraw at this early stage, it is not yet guaranteed that Advani will make it through to the final of the billiards and if he were to lose in the early rounds, then he would be free to compete in China. Rather than let the uncertainty continue however, Advani has made his decision in good time and everyone now knows where they stand.

Prior to announcing his decision, Pankaj told the Times of India:

“Billiards has given me my identity. I have played billiards all my life, it’s my first love. Of course, snooker has been there for long but now the scenario is different. I am playing the snooker with renewed vigour and found the approach to be different which I did not have in all these years.”

“Even if I make a choice to play the World billiards or the International Championship, I am not going to regret my decision for sure. I don’t want to look back and say, I should have done that thing,”

“It’s a million-dollar event. The atmosphere is exciting and challenging. There are good players out there, the conditions are top class. It can’t get better than this. It’s massive.

“In the snooker world, a lot more events are coming up this season. However, in billiards, there are only two world championships and after that, we don’t have any event for a while.”

Good luck to Pankaj at the World Billiards Championship and hopefully we will see him through to a second venue on the snooker circuit before long. From what I have seen so far, he has an interesting style of play on a snooker table, no doubt resulting from his billiards background, that deserves more widespread attention.

  • Kenn Fong

    This sounds lousy to me. He eliminated four players, one of whom might still be in the tournament if he’d played and defeated a different player than Adjani.

    He should have made up his mind before entering the Championship.

    • Cab

      Well if they couldn’t beat him in the qualifiers, why should they deserve to still be in the tournament?

      • matt2745

        That’s basically my view too. Advani probably wasn’t expecting to qualify so I don’t blame him for entering.

        • Kenn Fong

          My point is they might have beaten someone else. All things are not equal. If the best player won every matchy, , there’s no reason to play the games. If there were no upsets, why bother? Just use rankings and don’t even olay the matches, just crown based on who is on top. Yes, I realize this is over-the-top sarcasm, but results are not entirely predictable. What makes sport exciting is you don’t know how things will come out.

          How many times this season has an underdog upset better players? Or a dark horse won the whole event.

          • Kenn Fong

            sorry for the typoes. The reply form appears under the Most Popular so I couldn’t proof it.

  • zabaks

    Hmm, Lee still in the draw?
    And about Advani – of course he entered Qualifying. As he never before had won those 4 matches to reach the venue, the probability of doing so was minimal, just needed to play for ranking pts and some cash. Then, when he kept winning, he could not throw a match – look what happened at PL…

    • matt2745

      I guess officially he isn’t definitely out of it yet, though in reality I’m sure that the investigation won’t be done by then.

  • JIMO96

    Advani had every right to entet, and beat as many players, and win as many ranking points as he could. It’s not his fault that the WSA stick with an outdated system that keeps the qualifying several months (or several continents, or both) apart from the main event.

    If the whole event was played at the same time, in the same place, then Advani could have made his mind up earlier. Now we have a situation where a wildcard (Zhou Yuelong) is straight into the last 32 without hitting a ball, while 7 main tour pros have to battle with a wildcard to reach that stage, despite having won up to 4 matches for this “privilege”.

    This farcical imbalance is highlighted further when you consider that Peter Ebdon is (probably) already in the last 16(!) because of the Lee suspension. Again, if the tournament was played in the same venue, all at the same time, Lee could have simply been replaced.

    Snooker SO needs flat 128 draws.

  • BoroPhil

    Why couldn’t whoever Advani knocked out have taken his place? Yes, it’s short notice, but surely Advani realised the clash as soon as he qualified.

    • matt2745

      Advani realised the clash, but took some time to decide what he wanted to do, obviously was a big decision.

      Snooker (as far as I can remember), has never really had a ‘lucky loser’ system in place like in tennis (or anything similar), I guess, the standard procedure is for a bye to be awarded in such circumstances.

      • wild

        im not in favour of Lucky Loser once you lost that’s it you out so long farewell close the Door behind you.

        But why not invite a UK Amateur to take his place.

  • Kenn Fong

    One brief follow-up on my point that you must play the games rather than rely on rankings, because results don’t always agree with rankings:

    In American Baseball, the New York Yankees, the perennial powerhouse team with the highest payroll by far in all of the sport, qualified for the playoffs by winning their division. However, they lost in the first round in pitiful fashion: losing 4-nil in a best of seven to the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees never held the lead once during all four games.

    That’s why you play the games. If everything was decided on form, the Yankees would have been booked to the World Series. Instead, they’ll be home watching on television.