February 26, 2019

Indian Open Preview (well sort of)

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:30 am

Captain Mohan – The Main Man.

Tragic circumstances surrounded the postponement of the Indian Open earlier in the season, but as promised, the World Snooker Tour returns to Kochi in the Kerala region of India for the short but sweet Indian Open, which starts on Wednesday.

There has been a rare two day break in the calendar following Thepchiaya Un-Nooh’s win in the Shootout. I didn’t watch much of it but what I did see didn’t offend me too much in terms of the action on the table, but off it the crowd of shaved chimps continues to annoy so it wasn’t something I was ever going to embrace again with open arms.

They add nothing with their primitive, repetitive and frankly meaningless chants. They remind me very much of hardcore jazz musicians, in that the noises they emit are pure enjoyment and genius to them, but an absolute load of fucking bollocks to everyone else.

Before that, Judd Trump continued his namesake’s bid for world domination with another big trophy win in the World Grand Prix in Cheltenham. He’s truly the man to beat at the moment and appears to have the advantage over all the other main players, including O’Sullivan. It remains to be seen whether he can retain this form for the rest of the season but if he can, it’s surely the most justifiably fancied he’ll ever have been going into Sheffield.

Following that, another player who will really fancy his chances in Sheffield Neil Robertson, ran out the winner in Cardiff at the Welsh Open beating one of the favourites for this week Stuart Bingham in a great final.

At the other end of the spectrum, we continue to try and find out where Mark Selby has left his A Game, he’s leaving it late this year but he’s done similar in the past and turned up nigh on unbeatable at The Crucible so it would be folly to write him off as a big contender just yet.

At least he’s only looking for his A Game though, Shaun Murphy is half way through the alphabet and must be approaching the high Scrabble scorers when it comes to his current form. As ever, he’s been publicly lamenting his invisible game on the airwaves and explaining the negative effect that social media was having on him. In fact with this and his various ambassadorial and committee duties, plus of course his commentary work one wonders where he finds the time to put some practice in, perhaps there lies the problem, it’s usually the simplest solution that is the correct one after all.

‘I’m sure I left it round here somewhere’

Shaun is back in action this week and faces one of the Indian wildcards, Lucky Vatnani, who can play a bit and is double figure prices to beat him. Make no mistake, given that Shaun also recently lost to Adam Stefanow in a match in which he played at times like a man with no eyes and as a consequence also misses the China Open, any repeat of that form will see him on the way home no sooner than you can say Chicken Madras, or most likely he’ll just rock up to the commentary box to tell the others where they are all going wrong.

In terms of this week, the short best of seven format again presents an opportunity for a new name on a ranking trophy. The final of course is just the best of nine so this really is a whistlestop tour of the region before we head to Preston for the Players Championship, which should be a decent ‘Masters style’ 16 player event next week.

This event is usually available on the bookies sites and if you are really lucky you will be able to hear the in-country commentary. This is a thing of great beauty, unashamedly biased towards the home players, scathing in it’s criticism of ‘club standard’ snooker and totally populated by people called Captain who have wonderful facial hair.

There is also a rumour circulating that it will be covered on Eurosport Player, which at this time of year is well worth investing in on a month by month basis if you are an avid snooker fan, given that it’s only a few weeks to the World Championship qualifiers. 

I make Bingham quite a strong favourite for this one, the draw he has is kind and it strikes me that he’s in great form, but at 6/1 I wouldn’t say he’s exactly value given the format. Instead I’ll plump for a few of the others each way and the first ranking win for Lisowski, all those below I think are capable of a decent week at long odds, including Un-Nooh who can be boosted to absurd odds at Ladbrokes if you are quick, like he is.

Recommended: Win – Jack Lisowski (11/1). Each Way – Luca Brecel (28/1) Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (60/1) and Sam Baird (160/1) 

You can play around with the draw to select your outright picks here.

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