Friday, 17 December 2010

Hi guys, had the pleasure of attending this years Mosconi Cup on my doorstep in London. It was actually the first time I had been to the Mosconi at Bethnall Green. What a great atmosphere, the crowd were fantastic chanting and singing songs for the whole four days relentlessly. It brought back alot of memories from when I played the Mosconi Cup myself in Holland which was great too. The event itself was good to watch because there were alot of twists and turns in alot of matches. Up untill 6-6 both teams were pretty evenly matched but Dennis Hatch made a school boy error not to run out with 2 balls remaining against Appleton at hill hill. For me this was the turning point and from then on we got alot of inspiration from this mistake and went on to win pretty comfortably. Well done again to the European squad !!!

Recently I played 2 gb9 ball tour events in Blackpool. I came 3rd in both events.....not bad but expected to win atleast 1 event. Its a bit harsh losing in 2 semi-finals but my opponents had to play well to beat me because I was playing some top quality pool. My next international event will be the 9 ball Paris Open in the middle of January 2011 followed by a Euro tour event also in Paris in February.

I have a new practise base in my home town which is the recently converted Mist Gentlemans club in Hounslow where I live. This club has alot of history behind it going back to the old highway men days......remember Dick Turpin the high way man who was very famous known for his looting and robberies. The club was a snooker club even in those days called Lucania and had some great snooker players. It then was bought out by Rileys who kept it for a long time until it was bought by the current owner Pali who called the club Demons keeping the snooker and American pool theme. Now Pali has embarked on his new venture......a gentlemans club. The whole layout and design of the place has changed and when I walked in on the opening night it was a bit of a shame not to see a snooker club anymore because thats where i grew up playing and had become part of the furniture. Yes it was a bit emotional because I had spent years and years there playing for hours on end. However look on the bright side which I always do Pali kept a Brunswick Gold Crown 5 there which is in superb condition and plays great. Yes a pool table in a gentlemans club. An interesting new environment to practise in to say the least. It is quite good because it has been sectioned off from the rest of the club to give it some privacy. The occasional model wearing next to nothing comes round now and then asking me if i want a drink which is pleasant on the eye. The missus isnt too happy about my new playing environment but thats life what can i do....wink wink... lol!!!
Race to 9 for a lap dance anyone lol!!!!!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Hi Guys just got back from Sarajevo Open. Was a great comp even better than last year and recommend it to everyone for next year. As far as I know everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event because the hospitality was great and the hotel and equipment used was superb. There were no complaints what so ever and the organisers asked us to make some suggestions to make the tournament better for next year but we were all lost for words. We were all pleased for Ralph who eventually won the event because he hadnt won a tournament for a few months and had been in a purple patch. I came 9th place and was a bit dissapointed because have been playing well having won two consecutive GB9 ball tournaments and a 3rd place in the Swiss Open which I feel I should have won aswell. But anyhow you must take the rough with the cant win em all as they say. Although the feild as a whole was'nt that strong apart from a select few it was a good warm up tournament for the US Open which starts next week. I fly out on Thursday morning with the other British guys. Looking forward to go to the States because there is always alot of action going on in the local pool room if you are not playing a tournament match. Keep you to you soon guys.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Maharaja trounces the field at gb9ball tour!!!

Yipeeee!! Was nice to win the main event at the Daventry tour stop. It was a good final between me and the young gun from Scotland Jason Shaw who looked to be in great form. I started slow and Jason took a good lead running most of his racks at the beginning of the race to 11. He looked very confident and in good stroke after beating Mark Gray from being behind in the semi finals. I knew I had my work cut out and had to play well to keep up with Jason because he was breaking very well sometimes making 3 to 4 balls thus getting easy runouts. Luckily I kept up with him and pounced on a few of his mistakes during the middle of the set. Once I got in front I think it was 8-7 I always manged to keep a 1 to 2 rack advantage prevailing with a 11-9 final scoreline. At 10-9 to me, I hook Jason and he kicked out of the snooker well and left me a long 7ball which barely went past the 8 into the top left hand pocket. As I got down on the shot I knew this was for the title so I got back up and realligned my shot just to make sure of the seven because it was a difficult shot and just about went past the 8. The pressure was on and I  put everything into that 7 ball hitting it perfect and leaving me plum on the 8 to get to the 9. Phew!!! it was over but a gallant effort from the young Scot. Overall a solid performance from me and was nice to hit some good form again winning another main event title to add to my other four which I won consecutively in 2009. Sorry had to boast about that lol!!!

Congratulations to Phil Burford for winning the pro event and Shane Appleton for winning the Challenge. Both looked to be in good form especially Phil who beat the likes of Mark Gray 9-4 and Raj Hundal with the same scoreline in the final.  
A big thanks goes to the Gb9ball tour and all its helpers for putting on another great event at the Daventry Barcelo where the venue is top notch and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Guess I like Daventry, two  trophies in two stops...not bad eh! Looking forward to the next event in Blackpool which is a nice venue aswell.
Back to 10 ball now because am training for The Sarajevo Open which starts next week in Bosnia. It was a good tournament last year with an excellent venue and perfect equipment. I lost in a close match in the semi-finals so am looking to go one better this time around. A couple of  days after Sarajevo I fly off to the US Open in Virginia so its back to 9 ball. The US Open is an important event for me because if I win it I most likely will be selected for the Mosconi Cup team in December. Am in good form so look to put in a good performance at both events....if not win them.......keep you posted.

Remember........the more tournaments you play........the easier they will become!

The Maharaja.................Back to winning ways!!!!!!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Played the Swiss Open this weekend. It was a good event played in Gstaad with a tough European field. I came third place losing 9-8 to the eventual winner Dominic Jentsch an up and coming German player. Gotta say he was luckier than me but played solid overall. Feel that it was my event after Souqet and Feijen were out but missed an easy 3 ball taking my eye of it at hill hill in the semi finals.........ouch!!! guess I took it for granted and rushed it a little.......ugh!!!! Valerie next door could have made that ball lol!!  Anyway I like to take the positives out of any bad situation and overall a pretty good performance but dissapointed not to get to the final. However showed some very good form on the table and won some tough matches with prolific scorelines.
Was suppose to be in China right now for the China Open but a sponsor let me down so had to alter my plans.....gutted!!  I will now be attending the GB 9ball tour event in Daventry this weekend and hope to do some damage!!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Played in two competitions lately. Both were handicap tournaments where I was playing off -3 which means I have to win 3 extra racks than my opponent. The first one was the New Total 9ball tour and I came 5th place. Not bad but not great. Playing in a handicap tournament is a different mind set than playing off level. I feel that my opponent feels much stronger when recieving a handicap rather than playing a top player on level terms. This obviously makes it harder for me but is good match practice so I dont mind. The only thing that was mind boggling was the lack of entries. Now the tournaments are more open because of a handicap system being implemented we seem to be getting less entrants whereas in effect it should be the other way around. Come on guys lets support these tournaments a little more.....they can only help your game.

The other tournament was the Predator 10 ball masters at Barnsley. Its always a good event at Barnsley because the staff are very friendly and helpful plus the equipment used always pretty good. I came 5th place in the event but had some pretty close tough matches along the way and the guy who beat me played very good.
My next tournament will be the Swiss Open in Gstaad and is a 10 ball event which has a tough European field. I think the smaller events I have been playing in have put me in good match play mode so hopefully I will put in a good performance at the event if not win it.
Gotta go now because as you might know from my previous posts its Tuesday and its babysitting day and my baby nephew is fast asleep....thank god!! Have found a secret weapon when babysitting my nephew which is Rap music especially 50 cent or Snoop Dog. The little devil is as good as gold if I pump some rap tunes...dont ask why, maybe hes a rapper in the making. Valerie the oap next door gets a bit angry when the music is too loud so have to be careful.  Am getting better at nappy changing by the way. There is a system for everything.....just like playing a bank shot or a kick. Practice makes perfect as they say just like a pool player.
Shoot well guys and may the Rolls be with you!!!!!

 The Maharaja.................Elephants are ready to trample and crush and the tigers are hungry to attack!!

Friday, 3 September 2010

You learn something new everyday and yesterday I learnt that when you are swimming, if you keep your head under water you can go alot faster. This has increased my swimming speed substantially and am alot more aerodynamic in the water........watchout Nemo!
Anyway back to pool. I played a few sets with a friend yesterday and won 4 sets giving up some weight. I was cueing pretty well and only missed 1 ball that I shot at in 4 sets....not bad.
Have some big events coming up such as China Open and US Open so am trying to play as much as I can.
Taking a break from pool is also important now and then because one can get exhausted and almost bored from the game. However on the other hand not playing enough also has its effects so it is important to find a nice balance between the two. If you dont play for a couple of weeks you can lose muscle memory where the muscles in your arm forget how to execute certain shots so it is important to stay in stroke on a pretty regular basis.
Going to Solihull tomorrow to enter the first event of the Total 9ball series. The event is handicapped and I would be on -3 racks racing to 8. I think I will be giving most players a handicap but it will be good match practice and am looking forward to it. Let you know how I get on.
Playing tournaments wether big or small can only help your game. The more tournament experience you have under your belt, the better.
How many times have you heard ' Oh I was flying in practice and did'nt miss a ball but when I got to the tournament the wheels fell off '. Its beacause he was'nt used to playing in tournaments or needs to play alot more of them. You will find that the more tournaments you play in, the easier they will become. The pressure of playing in tournaments will become less and less and you can eventually let your natural and best game come out when you have alot of tournament experience behind you.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Played the recent Eurotour in Finland. Was in a lovely hotel within a shopping centre 5 mins away from Helsinki Airport. The tables were set up over 3 different floors as the tournament progressed with lots of Finnish shoppers taking an interest in the event. The tournament setup was different but refreshing with a good contingent of Finnish players participating.
I had a pretty tough draw to qualify on paper playing my buddy Raj  Hundal first match and then playing Artem Koshovoy the no1 ranked player in Ukraine to play a good Austrian player to qualify for the last 32. Anyway I played pretty good and won 8-4, 8-7 and 8-3 to qualify for the knockout last 32 stage where I drew David alcaide from Spain who beat me 8-5. Have seen alot easier draws than that in my time. So in the end I finished 17th. Alot of people might say thats good but according to my standards was a below par performance.
Am not one for excuses but I cant beat my self up because I have a bad shoulder where I injured myself in the gym two days before the event because I didnt stretch before working out. During my matches I was wearing a heat patch on my shoulder and was'nt quite comfortable when down on some shots. Looking forward to the next Euro tour which is in Portugal by the beach in Albufera. Until then will be practicsing hard and doing some Physio work on the shoulder.

Am going to West End now with wifey for some lunch in Leicester Square and then to watch Avatar in 3D.

The Royal Carriage awaits.............gotta go!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The trials and tribulations of babysitting.

Oh no! today its Tuesday and its babysitting morning....Phuh!!! Sometimes babysitting can be fun and entertaining but sometimes can be an absolute nightmare. It was plain sailing this morning until the nappy came off !!! The art of nappy changing seems to be my always falls off! No its not funny!!Maybe its because my 3 year old nephew is quite hyper and loves jumping around the place or the nappy fasteners are simply no good. Its like the fourth or fifth time this has happened however much care and attention I put in when fastening the nappy. Think next time I will get some heavy duty masking tape and wrap it around the nappy about 100 times lol!! Nappy changing to me is like running a really tough rack of pool where every shot that you are faced with  is very difficult but you keep on getting them with a few jump shots along the way......then when you finish you let out a big sigh of releif.
Phew!! glad I got that over and done with it was like I had just finished a race to 100 with Bustamante!
Two minutes later the 3 year old started crying at the top of his voice and would'nt stop! He had been fed and had a clean nappy on so what now! I was snookered with no rails to kick at and no jump shot available!
At this stage it was getting a bit silly and I could'nt even phone my sister because she was in a meeting with a client. I tried and tried to think of a solution while bouncing him in my arms walking around the whole house hoping that he would stop bellowing in my earhole.
Aha! I had an idea.......would take him for a cruise round the block in the car. As I fitted the baby seat in the car the baby was still crying very loud and Valerie the oap from next door opened her window and said ' everything ok Imran'..............Yes Valerie we are fine just taking him for a little drive I said........make sure you fasten him in properly Imran........Yes Valerie I will do I replied furiously my face totally red with embarrasment. Anyway got into the car and put the radio on....... it was Snoop Dog!! Lo and behold the little terror stopped crying. I was over the moon at this point could'nt beleive it, my nephew had stopped crying and was now smiling!!.
We then set off for a little cruise both of us smiling and nodding our heads to the rapping of Snoop Dog!

Thanks Snoop your my favourite!

Sister got back at 1pm thank god and I rush out to Demons to continue my practice regime. Hope its easier than my morning!                       Chow for now!!

Monday, 23 August 2010

The forthcoming Eurotour in Finland is approaching and last year at this event I came second place so have to put in a good performance to defend my points otherwise I will drop down the rankings. Played 10 ball yesterday and gave some good local players big handicaps where I was'nt the favourite at all. Anyway i dug deep and i won four very close sets of 10 ball.
One of my motos is work, rest, and play so today i will only play for about two hours and then rest for the remainder of the day, maybe watch a few movies in the Royal Cinema. Might have a crack at the 15 ball ghost today, let you know how I get on.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Wanted to mix up my practice so I deided to play some 'kick pool'.
Your rack  for 9 ball and beak. Any balls made on the break are respotted.You have to kick 5 balls in before your opponent. You can kick any ball in doesnt have to be in numerical order. I usually start by playing one rail kicks then move to 2 rail kicks and so on. When playing one rail kicks a player cannot attempt to kick a ball in which is within 6 inches from the pocket (would be too easy).
Its a good constuctive way to practice kick shots and gives the element of competition when playing against someone.

Spent the rest of the day chilling in The Royal Baths getting pampered by my servants.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Yipeeeee!! did eventually beat the 14 ball ghost yesterday. I was detemined to beat the 14ball ghost after numerous efforts on Wednesday. After coaching I went to my pool room Demons in Hounslow and set off on my mission. The first set I lost 9-4 and did'nt play very good. Got a bit frustrated because I was'nt running out some racks that I should. I then took a time out went to the toilet had a cup of tea and started another set. This time, I cleaned the balls and I put more effort into the break and racked the balls perfectly. Wow!! I was making 3-4 balls on the break, in one rack I made 5 balls. From then on I was getting easy runouts because I only had 10 or 11 balls to runout after the break. I beat the ghost 9-3 and let out a great sigh of relief. So in the end it was the break that was the key factor and the cleaning of the balls ensured that my racks were more frozen hence making more balls and getting easier layouts.

Did you know that Earl Strickland cleaned all the balls after every rack when he won one of his US Open titles.

Today my sister and brother in law with 4 nephews are coming round for dinner. I call them 'The Circus' but lets not go into that. I have elected myself to make one of my famous chicken curries. A dish fit for Maharaja's. Yes I can cook, its one of my hobbies, am not just good at pool! lol! My chicken curry is a lovely concoction of traditional herbs and spices but also has an element of Thai food involved too. I like to add some lime and a bit of coconut which compliment the indian spices once mixed together with the meat. (been watching too much Master Chef) haha!

The Maharaja's famous chiken curry, voted 'The Best Curry of 2010' my house lol!!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Off to do some coaching at the Hurricane room. Anyone else interested can pm me at pro9 or email me at  Gotta go! my elephant and cavalry is waiting for me in the courtyard of the Royal palace.  Catch up with you later guys!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Phew !! just got back from knackered did a solid four hours. Practice thesedays is tougher than usual because it is the month of Ramadan where I have to fast (not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset).
Anyway I played 'The Ghost' today. For those who dont know, the ghost is an imaginary person that you have to beat in a game of pool. Its a good way of giving you an incentive to practice by trying to beat this imaginary person.You rack the balls up and break. Then you get ball in hand and you have to run out the complete rack. If you miss the ghost is awarded the rack. Yes, the ghost doesnt miss so you best make sure you dont either. Back in the day I started with the 9ball ghost but would easily beat it so I upgraded to the 10 ball then the 11 ball ghost and so forth. I have beaten all the ghosts upto the 14 ball ghost which I am playing thesedays. Gosh he's a tough player!! I couldnt beat him today I tried five sets racing to 9. He beat me 9-4, 9-6,9-3,9-6 and 9-7.  However I cant beat myself up about it because when playing 14 ball there is always alot of traffic and clusters to deal with so sometimes a rack can be very difficult. So, considering the difficulty of the 14 ball ghost my scorelines are not bad especially the 9-7 where i ran out some very tricky racks. One rack involved 2 kick shots a combination and 2 banks! It felt real good though after running it!
Try it yourself starting with the 9ball ghost and move upwards. Gonna beat that 14 ball ghost tomorrow !! GGGRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Played the Demons Double Trouble event on Sunday and lo and behold i won! The tournament has an exciting new format where if you win the lag you can choose the discipline you want to play ,8,9 or 10 ball.
I had to give some people a handicap but played good enough to win. I think this is the 3rd or 4th consecutive tournament win at Demons. See what I mean about running tournaments.

Anyway that was on Sunday. Today i am starting my practice regime shot for the forthcoming Euro tour in Finland.When I first started practicsing I used to just spread the balls out on the table and run out rack after rack but that became boring and most of the time i was running out and there was no real challenge. Now i concentrate on parts of my game which need improving. With the break off shot being such an integral part of the game I spend alot of time these days breaking rack after rack. I will do 100 break off shots and have a scoring system to monitor each break and its performance.
There is 1 point for each ball i make, 2 points for a good cue ball,minus 2 points for a scratch and minus 3 points for a dry break. So really I am trying my best not to dry break or scratch which have a penalty.  I know it can take a long time and be quite physically demanding to rack up and execute 100 breaks so maybe you can try 20 or 30 and see how you get on. I usually get a friend for me to rack the balls with the aid of a magic rack. Try it see how you get on......

After practice off to watch the new box office hit The Expendables.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A very warm welcome to the Kingdom of the Maharaja

Hi All, first of all thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. This is a great opportunity for everyone to gain more of an insight into my great kingdom. As you may know the meaning of the word Maharaja means Indian King but the actual dictionary definition means 'King of Kings'.

Within my blog I will be telling you about my latest conquests as I travel the world with my army of  elephants and tigers. Also i will be letting out some of my secrets in how to become a prolific tournament winner. We are not talking about winning a tournament once in a while we are talking about running tournaments. Last year I ran four consecutive tournaments on the great GB9ball tour which is  most definately the toughest pool tour in Europe full of world champions and the countries greatest cueists. Also i will be talking about my recent accolade of winning the world title of The World Teams Championships 2010 which was hosted in Germany where the Dream Team went on to take the coveted title beating the Phillipines in the final.

May the rolls be with you!!.............The Maharaja