The onus is on Aditya MehtaSeptember 12, 2017
India’s biggest name in snooker, Pankaj Advani, has pulled out of the fourth edition of the Indian Open World ranking snooker championship, citing personal reasons.
And, it will be a huge challenge for the only other big name from the host nation, Aditya Mehta, to live up to the expectations when the event gets underway at the Novotel Hotel here on Tuesday.
In fact, by virtue of being the host, India is able to get six wild-card entries to Lucky Vatnani, Pandurangaiah, Laxman Rawat, Srikrishna, Ashutosh Padhy and Malkeet Singh.
That this £3 lakh prize money event also features five world champions — Stuart Bingham, Greame Dott, Shaun Murphy, John Higgins and Ken Doherty — besides Anthony McGill, who won the 2016 Indian Open in Hyderabad, can well serve a reminder of the intensity of the contests.
Aditya, former World Games champion and known for his long potting skills and big breaks, will have to step into a different zone to make an impact.
On the other hand, arguably the biggest star will be four-times World champion John Higgins.
Considered one of the best-ever snooker players in the history of the sport, the 42-year-old has to his credit the remarkable feat of being in the top six in the world for 16 consecutive seasons between 1996-2012. He can well be the biggest threat for another former Wrld champion Graeme Dott.
It is too much to expect from the wild-card entrants, though the element of surprise cannot be ruled out. In this category, Lucky Vatnani can bank on his experience of having played in the World Championships earlier and the BSFI president Capt. Mohan rates 17-year-old Srikrishna very high.
Till the semifinals, the event will be ‘best of seven frames’ and the final ‘best of nine’.