New Delhi: He is disappointed not to get the opportunity to rub shoulders with his Indian counterparts in the ongoing World Series Hockey, but star Pakistan player Shakeel Abbasi on Thursday said that he risked his international career to play in the lucrative league since he wanted to pay respect to his commitment towards the organizers.
Abbasi, who led the Pakistan team, admitted that financial benefit was one of the reasons behind his decision to join the league.
He also said that that the participation of top Indian players would have made the tournament a huge success.
"There is dignity, fame and money here. I wish top Indian players were playing in the tournament. They would have been crowd pullers," said Abbasi ahead of his team, Delhi Wizards` opening match in the tournament against Karnataka Lions at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here tomorrow.
"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 of Pakistan, who are playing in the league," he added.
Asked the reason behind his decision to join the "unsanctioned" WSH, Abbasi said, "Money was one of the factors. We were committed because we had already taken advance payments from the organisers. If we wouldn’t have turned up we would have fallen in their esteem. When we signed the contracts there were no legal issue. But I feel hockey should be kept free from politics."
Abbasi, however, said that their national federation (PHF) have been supportive of them but were forced not to grant them permission to play in the WSH because of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which has not sanctioned the event.
"The PHF has been supportive of us. I wish the FIH had supported the WSH. 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 added.
Apart from Abbasi, the other Pakistani players participating in the tournament are Zeeshan Ashraf, Adnan Maqsood, Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmed and Tariq Aziz.