Calcutta: Pankaj Advani is a cricket buff. He always keeps a track of India’s performance in every form of the game.
The IPL hasn’t enthused him much this season so far, but he did watch Chris Lynn’s spectacular catch to get rid of AB de Villiers that literally won Kolkata Knight Riders the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah on Thursday night.
“It was the catch of the tournament… Fantastic effort… It was an example of his agility and fitness... This is one area we Indians need to focus on….
“I would love to see an Indian taking that sort of a catch someday,” Advani, with eight world titles (billiards, snooker) to his credit, said.
The 28-year-old was in the city to receive the best sportsperson of the country award at the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club’s annual function on Friday.
A Padma Shri, Advani has received the country’s top awards in sport — the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna.
Advani will take part in three national level events next month before the qualifying rounds of the IBSF World Team Championships in Egypt.
A gold medallist at the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010, Advani is disappointed with the omission of billiards from Incheon Games later this year.
“It’s a big setback... We did well last time and it’s quite disappointing to find that we will not be able to compete this time. But I am positive that it will be included again,” he said.
The Olympic Council of Asia has removed billiards among various other sports from the Asian Games.
Advani’s hopes of making it to the World Snooker Championship were dashed after he lost his third-round qualifier against Robbie Williams earlier this month.
The Indian champion blew a 7-4 lead to lose 7-10 against Williams in the final qualifying round in Sheffield. “I wasn’t keeping too well… I was taken aback by his unorthodox style... He sort of surprised me. Robbie ultimately made the cut.”
Advani, who is focusing more on snooker now, said he’s looking to improve at all times. “There’s no particular goal but to keep improving, irrespective of the results. Take my game one level up… In any case, to me, sport is an art, and should not be quantified,” Advani said.
After receiving the award, an excited Advani had a message for the youngsters. "If you try, you risk failure, but if you don't try, you ensure failure," he said.