Azlan wins unique Mumbai event
By Pradeep Vijayakar
Mumbai: The crowds were back at the Cricket Club of India on
Sunday (Jan 9), home to Indian squash for over seven decades.
The reason: World No 19 Moh'd Azlan Iskandar was playing
India No.2 Ritwik Bhattacharya.
This was the final of a unique event, the inaugural CCI Ezra
invitation squash tournament. Four-time national champ Adrian
Ezra who went to Harvard and is now in the UK with ExecuZen
Limited, wanted to give something back to the game. So he organised
this invitation event which had four foreign players taking part
along with the Indians.
triumphed 9-11 11-8 11-9 11-4 in the final. The two players share
rooms on the circuit and spar with each other. The 22-year old from
Sarawak had won his home
Malaysian Open a few days ago. He had lost to Ritwik as a
12-year- old playing in the India-Malaysia juniors series in 1995.
The two players engaged each other in rallies in their favourite
backhand corners. But they didnít hit all the overheads into the
nick and whoever did regularly won the upperhand because both were
picking up everything with amazing agility.
One couldnít believe that Ritwik was No 96 as he played the boast,
the drop from the back and deceptive crosscourts.
But the Malaysian was able to turn back the pressure in the crunch
situations and won the title.
Azlan took home $2,500 for his triumph and Ritwik collected $1500.
Peter Genever finished third in the men's event. Former India
international Ananth Nayak's son Akhilesh claimed the juniors title.
Akhilesh playing with a -2 handicap did well to beat the smaller
Aadit Zaveri who had a +3 handicap.
Men's final: Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt
Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind) 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4.
Semi-Finals: Iskandar bt Arnold 11-3, 9-11, 11-2, 11-6;
Bhattacharya bt Genever 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9
3rd-4th playoff: Peter Genever (Eng) bt
Timothy Arnold (Mas) 11-4, 11-10 (2-0), 11-4.
Juniors final: Akhilesh Nayak bt Aadit Zaveri
11-10 (4-2), 11-10 (2-0), 6-11, 11-8.
am surprised Ritwik is ranked No. 96 as he matched me stroke For
stroke. He just proved that he is fit and can keep up with the
"He made a few unforced errors at the end which helped me.
"But for injury Ritwik would be a force on the circuit."
I lost I am delighted with the way I played. I had quite a
good match. I just didnít happen to last out.
"We have been training so much that he has got used to my