BANGALORE: Pankaj Advani has announced his entry into the world of professional sn­ooker. With India being offered one wild card for the World Pro-Ranking Tour and the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India’s (BSFI) original nominee Aditya M­­e­­hta eligible to play on the tour directly as Asian champion, India No 2, Pankaj has now be­en nominated for the wild card.
Pankaj had earlier rejected the BSFI offer, seeking to co­­n­­centrate only on billiards, but he has changed his stance now. “This is the right time to give it a shot. At the age of 18, when I was really keen to go and play in the pro league, I di­­dn’t get an entry, and after 8 years, the desire has been rekindled. It will be exciting to see what follows next,” he said. “My focus is to become a better player by participating in the pro tour, while continuing to actively participate in international billiards ev­­e­­nts.” Pankaj will be off the am­ateur snooker circuit for the next two years. He will be­gin his ca­mpaign this season with the Wuxi classic qualifiers from June 5 to 8.
As a debutant on the tour, Advani starts the season r­­a­­n­ked in the bottom half of the list, meaning the 26 year-old will have to play four rounds of qualifiers in the knockout format to enter the main draw of tournaments.