He may have won seven World titles but Pankaj Advani still feels the need to bring in more sharpness to his game as the ace Indian cueist gears up to negotiate stiff competition in the upcoming National Billiards and Snooker Championship and IBSF World Billiards event.

Advani, who is presently participating in the Snooker World Cup in Bangkok along with Aditya Mehta, said he is confident of defending his title in the snooker event in the Nationals and win back his lost glory in the Point and Time formats of the IBSF championship.

“I am confident of retaining the National title in the snooker event and also win back the billiards title from Alok Mehta. Players like Alok, Geet Sethi, Dhruv Sitwala will present a tough challenge in the championship but I am hopeful of delivering the best,” Advani told PTI from Bangkok.

“Ahead of the tough season, I have to work on my sharpness. I have to be more sharp and alert with my game as all the upcoming championships are big events. I am participating in the Snooker World Cup and this will hold me in good stead in the Nationals and IBSF tourney,” the Asian Games Billiards gold medallist said.

In the National championship last year, Advani lost to Alok in the Billiards category while in the Snooker event, the seven-time world champion defeated compatriot Lucky Vatnani.

In the last edition of the IBSF World championship played in India, Advani failed to defend his titles and lost to English cueist Mike Russell in both point and time formats.

In 2008, Advani had won both the titles in the Point and Time formats, defeating compatriots Geet Sethi and Devendra Joshi, respectively.

The main round of billiards championship will take place from July 26 to 30, followed by snooker from August 4-9.

In the upcoming edition of the IBSF event to be held in Carlow, Ireland, from August 23 to September 1, the Indian challenge will be spearheaded by Advani, Alok and veteran Geet Sethi.

The trio was selected following the overall ranking of three camps, which were held in Pune, Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

Advani ended his campaign with top billing, while Alok and Sethi finished second and third, respectively.

Asked about the scheduling of the Nationals and World Championship resulting in back-to-back tournaments, Advani said, “One can’t help it with such hectic scheduling. I am not thinking much about it. I am just concentrating on my game.”

In the ongoing Snooker World Cup where India lost its first encounter against the Northern Ireland 1-4, Advani said the defeat won’t affect their confidence.

“We lost it against Northern Ireland duo of Mark Allen and Gerard Greene but we are confident of making a comeback.”

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