Vidya all praise for Cue Slam

Even though the inaugural Indian Cue Masters League ended in disappointment for her team, Chennai Strikers’ Vidya Pillai had enough takeaways from the week-long tournament to predict that the sport had decidedly turned the corner.
Vidya Pillai
Vidya Pillai

Chennai

After years of being in the shadows of other major sports and many notches down the popularity quotient, the Cue League witnessed a surge in viewership raising hopes that it would act as a fillip in its bid to become more spectator-friendly. 
Entering the knockout stages, Chennai looked invincible and was billed the overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy, but suffered a reverse at the hands of the eventual winners Gujarat Kings in the last four stage. 
“The league is probably the best thing to have happened to our sport. Players from six different nations took part and the Indian players had the chance to rub shoulders with some of the best foreign cueists. This will hold our players in good stead. We were pleasantly surprised by the spectator turn-out. 
“Although we failed to win the trophy, there was so much that we learnt from this experience and we would be the better for it,” said Vidya, who acquired the sobriquet ‘Queen of the Green’ for her exploits. Asked to highlight the reasons for her team’s failure to win, Vidya, while acknowledging the superiority of her opponents, took swipe at the fans who she felt were partisan in the home team’s support. 
“Since Ahmedabad was selected as the venue, a vast section of the supporters was rooting for the home team which is understandable. But it would have been a level-playing field if the organisers had held the tournament across different cities in the country. In that way, no team would have enjoyed any undue advantage. We hope that Chennai will get to host the second edition,” added Vidya, who is a nine-time winner of the National Championship. 
On the rapport she shares with her team-mate Pankaj Advani, Vidya said they both go back a long way and she is happy to have seen him evolve into one of the leading exponents of the sport in India. Vidya will have to contend with a packed schedule in the next two months with the Asian indoor championship happening in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, followed by the World snooker championship in Qatar in November.

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