New Delhi: Pakistani stars playing in a new Indian field hockey league said on Thursday their participation could help revive sporting links between the two countries.
Five current and former Pakistan internationals, including ex-captain Zeeshan Ashraf, are in India for the lucrative but unsanctioned World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament which opened on Wednesday.
"We are thrilled to be in India," said Zeeshan, who is joined in the tournament by team-mates Adnan Maqsood, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbassi and Waseem Ahmed.
"This is a great platform to forge friendship between India and Pakistan. I hope it will mark the start of sporting ties between the two countries."
Bilateral series in cricket, the most popular sport in the sub-continent, have been stalled since a terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008, which India blamed on militants based in Pakistan.
Pakistan last toured India for a cricket series in 2007, while India featured in the Asia Cup played across the border in early 2008.
And no Pakistani has featured in the cash-rich Indian Premier League since the first edition in 2008.
The Pakistanis have risked their careers to play in the WSH because it is not supported by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which has threatened to bar players from world events.