December 22, 2010

Pakistan to play snooker series in Iran


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Pakistan will be engaged in a bilateral snooker series against the neighbouring Iran on an annual basis with the inaugural event to be held in Tehran early next year.

Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, President, Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), disclosed that the decision regarding the launch of the Pakistan-Iran Test series was taken in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the recently concluded IBSF World Snooker Championship 2010 in Damascus, Syria.

“The Iranian officials came up with the idea of initiating a Test series that could be held annually on reciprocal basis. It was agreed that Tehran would be the venue of the inaugural Test series Pakistan and Iran in February next while the Iranians will be paying a return visit in 2012,” the PBSA President revealed.

It may be recalled that the PBSA had launched a Test series against in 2003 that was known initially as the Peace Cup. Two more editions of the Indo-Pak series were held during the next couple of years but it has not been staged for the past five years now.

Alamgir Shaikh, who also attended the Annual General Meeting of the IBSF in Damascus, disclosed that the venues of the next two editions of the World Snooker Championship were finalized after some deliberations.

“Bahrain has been chosen as the host of the World Championship next year while Egypt will be playing host to the mega event the following year,” he said.

“It was also decided in the IBSF meeting that Thailand would be hosting the World 6-Reds Championship during the month of February 2011 besides organizing the World Team Snooker Championship in July 2011,” the PBSA President added.

Meanwhile he expressed his disappointment with the failure of the country’s top three cueists in the knockout games of the World Snooker Championship 2010, staged at the Al-Faiha Sports City in Damascus.

The PBSA President, who returned to Karachi with the trio of Mohammad Sajjad, Sohail Shahzad and Imran Shahzad, did not mince words in stating that he expected better performance from his cueists in the knockout games.

“Yes I am perturbed with the outcome. All of them had performed exceptionally well in the league matches and we were hoping for at least one of them to go the distance. Imran had started even the knockout round with a bang but he was overwhelmed in the pre-quarter-finals,” the PBSA President remarked.

“Imran couldn’t play to his potential in the pre-quarters, getting outplayed at the hands of the vastly experienced Alex Borg. Debutant Sohail was unlucky to be knocked out because his opponent, Noppadol Sangnil, got away with a couple of freakish shots that proved decisive in what had become a very absorbing contest,” Alamgir Shaikh recalled.

“The straight-frame loss of our main hope and top ranked cueist, Sajjad, to Dechawat Poomjaeng was very disturbing for us. A cueist of the caliber of Sajjad, having done well at the international stage in the past, was certainly expected to come up with much better performance,” he conceded.

The PBSA President agreed that Pakistan’s young and promising cueists have had problems in overcoming the pressures of knockout games.

“It’s true to some extent because it has happened in the past as well when our cueists have failed to deliver in the knockout games after having dominated their rivals in the earlier rounds. They need to bring about improvement in their temperament besides learning the tact of the trade,” Alamgir Shaikh reckoned.

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