Lucky Vatnani, Kamal Chawla  ready to fight for Hyderabad Hustlers in inaugural Cue slam league

The Cue Slam-Indian Cue Masters League features five teams, Hyderabad Hustlers, Delhi Dons, Bengaluru Buddies, Chennai Strikers and Gujarat Kings.

Published: 14th August 2017 08:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2017 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

Kamal Chawla of Hustlers feels the league will help popularise the sport among masses. | Express Photo Service

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Cue sports are some of the quietest sports activities around. When a player is taking aim for a shot, the audience is required to maintain absolute silence and discouraged from shuttling. This, and many more rules of the game will take a back seat when the Cue Slam-Indian Cue Masters League starts in Ahmedabad on August 19.

The seven-day event will feature five teams —  Hyderabad Hustlers, Delhi Dons, Bengaluru Buddies, Chennai Strikers and Gujarat Kings — with a total prize pool of Rs 50 lakh. Each team will have five players,  one icon, one female and three male.

The most striking change has been brought by introducing a shot-clock of 20 seconds, i.e, a player will get 20 seconds to complete his/her shot. “The changes make the sport multiple times more exciting. For long, players have been complaining about lack of opportunities. This is it. There could be a lot of upsets in store because of the change in rules,” Hustlers player Lucky Vatnani told Express on  Sunday.

The tournament will be played in a league-cum-knockout format with each tie comprising of five games — three 6 Red snooker and two 9-ball pool encounters. There will be a 10-minute span for each frame. Earlier, it was announced that the shot-clock will be of 15 seconds, but Express learned on Sunday it has been extended to 20 seconds. “It takes time to even get up and approach the table. All of that had to be done in 15 seconds.

The new time limit might have been introduced after considering these things,” said Kamal Chawla, another Hustlers player, who recently finished runner-up at the IBSF World 6 Reds Snooker Championship in Egypt. So, how are the cueists training for the revamped version of a sport they have been playing for years? “The important thing will be to figure out the best option for shots in the shortest interval of time. We are used to playing in the traditional format where players take as long time before taking their shots, but that won’t be the case here,” Vatnani said.

The league will be broadcast live on Sony ESPN. “We  have seen leagues in other sports like kabaddi and badminton enjoy success. If cue sport is brought live to the people in a crisp manner, it will also generate interest among them,” Chawla opined.

vishal@newindianexpress.com

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