Pakistan hockey stars including Rehan Butt arrived in India Wednesday and are looking forward to playing in the World Series Hockey (WSH).
Former Pakistan skipper Zeeshan Ashraf and midfielder Adnan Maqsood who are part of the Karnataka Lions franchise crossed over from the historic Wagah border. Star forward Rehan Butt striker Shakeel Abbassi and Waseem Ahmed flew into Delhi from Lahore while Sher-E-Punjab forward Tariq Aziz joined his team-mates in Jalandhar.
Zeeshan Ashraf said: "WSH is the first of its kind league to be held in the history of hockey and we are thrilled to be participating in the tournament. It is fantastic that hockey can provide a great platform for forging friendship between India and Pakistan. I hope our cricketers will also get to play together in the IPL. Yeh silsila chalta rahna chahiye."
Adnam Maqsood added the league would improve him as a player and was excited about playing along side India's Dhanraj Pillay who is making a comeback to the sport.
"WSH is a great platform to boost hockey in India and it will also help Pakistani players since all the top coaches and players are playing here. I am confident about giving my best to my team Karnataka Lions and it will be fantastic to play with the legendary Dhanraj bhai. If we get time off from hockey then I would like to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Taj Mahal in Agra," he said.
WSH is being held from Feb 29 to April 2 and will involve 200 leading players - Indian and international - who will showcase their talent in 59 matches.
The eight venues for the inaugural edition of the league are Bangalore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Jalandhar, Mumbai and Pune.