New Delhi: Pakistan star player Shakeel Abbasi said on Thursday that he has risked his international career to take part in the lucrative World Series Hockey (WSH).
Abbasi, who was to lead the national team, said that things are looking bad for the Pakistani players who are here to play in the WSH, which is being jointly promoted by the de-recognised Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Nimbus Sports.
Abbasi will be playing for Delhi Wizards in the WSH, which has not been granted an official status by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
"I was named the captain of the national team, but now things are looking bad for us back home. I heard that the PHF (Pakistan Hockey Federation) is likely to ban us. But there are top six players who are playing in the league," Abbasi said on the eve of his team's opening match against Karnataka Lions at the Major Dhyan Chan National Stadium.
Asked why he risked an international career to play in WSH, Abbasi said: "Money was one of the factors. We were committed because we had already taken advance payments from them. If we wouldn't have turned up, we would have fallen in their esteem. When we signed the contract, there were no legal hassles. Hockey should be kept free from all legal wrangles."
Abbasi, however, said that the PHF have been supportive of the players.
"The PHF has been supportive of us. I wish the FIH had supported the event," he said. Abbasi said that the WSH will help the eight Pakistani players prepare well for the Olympics.
"The WSH is a very good concept and it will help the players prepare well for the Olympics. There is no such event in Pakistan. I think WSH is a great concept and it will only help world hockey," he said.
The senior Pakistani player also said that participation of top Indian players would have made the WSH a success. "There is dignity, fame and money here. I wish top Indian players were taking part in the tournament. They would have been crowd pullers," he said.
Besides Abbasi, the other Pakistani players taking part in the WSH are Zeeshan Ashraf, Adnan Maqsood, Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmed and Tariq Aziz.