Karachi: A senior Pakistani tennis official expressed hope on Wednesday that an unprecedented move to hire a coach from the country's arch rival India would improve play and ease political tensions.
Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Kalim Imam said they had clearance from the government to hire India's Birbal Wadhera to train their senior and junior players.
"Wadhera is a renowned coach," Imam told AFP. "We hope that he will help us groom some current players as well as some budding juniors and it will also help us develop our players besides having a good relationship with India."
Imam said Wadhera will train at a month-long camp starting from May 10 in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
"Senior players will be trained in the first phase, then some ranking players and finally some juniors will get coaching," said Imam.
Wadhera has said it would be an "honour" to coach across the border.
It marks the first time that an Indian coach will supervise training in Pakistan. Former Pakistan cricket captain Intikhab Alam, currently national team manager, coached the cricket team of Punjab, India between 2005-2007.
Sporting relations between India and Pakistan have been suspended since Islamist gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008. New Delhi blamed the unprecedented attacks on militants based in Pakistan.
But since the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers watched last month's cricket World Cup semi-final there have been signs of a resumption of ties.