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15 April 2024

Pakistan to revive snooker rivalry with India


Pakistan snooker authorities Wednesday got clearance from the government to revive fixtures against arch-rivals India after a gap of eight years, with a series planned for next month.

The neighbours have not played a snooker series since 2005, when India visited. All sporting ties were frozen after the deadly attacks on Mumbai in 2008 which were blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Cricketing ties were revived after a gap of five years when Pakistan toured India in December-January for a short limited-overs series.

Pakistan Snooker and Billiards Association president Alamgeer Shaikh said he met Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who gave his approval for India to tour.

"I am thankful to the minister for allowing us to host the Indian team," Shaikh told AFP. "Our efforts have been successful and we hope that snooker series will go a long way in reviving other sports as well."

A four-member Indian team will arrive in Karachi on March 6 and will play the series from March 7-10, with the format to be decided next week.

The popularity of snooker is rising fast in the sub-continent, with India producing world amateur champion Pankaj Advani in 2003 and Pakistan's Mohammad Asif the current title holder.

The Indian hockey team is also scheduled to visit Pakistan for a series next month, with a return series next year.