Billiards, the three-ball game, arrived at the Indian shores in the 1920s largely due to the efforts of M. M. Begg. Begg, a character actor of yesteryears, played a pivotal role in the foundation of the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India and subsequently represented the country in world championships. The Federation took root in Calcutta in the year 1926 and since then Calcutta remains the stronghold of the Federation except for a brief period of four years, when it was housed in Bombay. However despite being a world class game, billiards had to struggle a lot to gain a proper foothold in a country where once hockey and now cricket is considered a religion.
Notwithstanding the slow progress, billiards in India has been played with the highest quality, a fact embodied by a bevy of world-class performers. Back in 1958, Wilson Jones put up a masterly performance to become the first Indian to win the coveted World Amateur Billiards Championship held in Calcutta. Since then, players of the caliber of Michael Ferreira and Geet Sethi have kept the Indian tricolor flying high in the international arena. The advent of double world champion Pankaj Advani and a horde of talented youngsters augur well for the future of billiards in India.
Despite being one of the few sports to churn out a healthy number of Indian world champions, the game of billiards is yet to catch the fancy of the Indian masses. Widely considered an elitist game, an Indian victory in billiards does not lead to a mass hysteria as a triumph in games like Cricket does. This is how Billiards and Snooker Foundation of India realized that the Billiards needs ground level recognition. Several efforts have been done since then in order to popularize the game. Training and sponsorship camps have been organized in various states to select budding talents in the billiards sector
Spurred by recent achievements in the world stage, a number of State Billiards Associations have made ardent efforts to tap the abundant talent pool in the country. The Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA) has been in the forefront of organizing tournaments as well as conducting coaching camps for international championships. The KSBA has earned plaudits for putting in place a state-of-the-art infrastructure that is regarded as one of the best in the world. It's time other state bodies followed suit and replicate the success of the KSBA. These efforts have given results and in last few years’ billiards have gained considerable popularity in various parts of the country.