With the advent of different leagues in order to popularise the sport, the Billiards Premier League is the latest to join the bandwagon. The Billiards and Snooker Association of Maharashtra (BSAM) has announced a Billiards Premier League with 10 teams and will be held in six gymkhanas/clubs in Mumbai from August 16 to 24.
"This cannot be compared to Indian Premier League (IPL) or Indian Badminton League (IBL) or any other top league in other sports. It's a trial run for bigger things like Snooker League to come in February next," said Derek Sippy, BSAM honorary joint secretary.
Asian Games gold medallist Ashok Shandilya, along with ace cueists Devendra Joshi and Dhruv Sitwala are some icon players who would represent different teams in the inaugural season.
The teams were purchased at a cost of Rs 1.25 lakh each for two seasons. Except for Shivaji Park Gymkhana-owned SPG Billiards Punters, whose icon player would be Shandilya, the other nine teams are owned by former and current players.
Players have been given minus handicaps with the top players awarded -175 to make it an even playing field. Each tie would consist of five matches including doubles and each match would be played over five frames. A team comprises seven players. The top four finishers would move into a qualifier-eliminator format to identify the finalists.
The winning team would receive Rs1.25 lakh (to be split between team owners and players), runner-up would get Rs90,000 while the third and fourth placed teams would pocket Rs60,000 and Rs50,000, respectively.
However, veteran Shandilya said most of the top players aren't playing for the money. "We just want to promote the sport. We want youngsters to take to the sport. Also, we want to give back to Billiards for what it gave to us," he said.
A total of 45 matches would be held in the round robin phase leading to the two qualifiers, one eliminator and the final. –firstname.lastname@example.org
Bombay Gymkhana Aug 16, 17, 23, 24
NSCI Aug 18, 20
Matunga Gymkhana Aug 18, 20
CCI Aug 19, 21
PJ Hindu Gymkhana Aug 22
Shivaji Park Gymkhana Aug 22
Teams (owners): Tigers (Bharat Mehta); RK's 7, The Rakish Kings (Rishabh Kumar); SPG Billiards Punters (Shivaji Park Gymkhana); MB's Shooters (Mehernosh Billimoria); RRockets (Raajeev Sharma); SK's Kannon Masters (Sanju Kothari); Scorpions (Sanjiv Bijlani); Race for Gold, The Team (Gurjit Dhingra); WJ Genii (Shyam Kotak) and SP Young Guns (Prashant Mhatre)