Chandigarh: Hockey players from Pakistan, who arrived in the country on Wednesday for the Bridgestone World Series Hockey (WSH), said they were thrilled to be a part of the inaugural edition of the tournament, which commenced here on Wednesday.

Former Pakistan skipper Zeeshan Ashraf and midfielder Adnan Maqsood of Karnataka Lions crossed over from the Wagah border, while star forward Rehan Butt, striker Shakeel Abbassi and Waseem Ahmed flew into Delhi from Lahore earlier on Wednesday.

"Bridgestone 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," said Zeeshan Ashraf.

"It's 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' (This association should continue)," he added.

Another player Adnan Maqsood added that WSH would help in the growth of the Pakistani players.

"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'm confident about giving my best to my team, Karnataka Lions, and it will be fantastic to play with the legendary Dhanraj bhai."

He also expressed his desire to visit Golden Temple and Taj Mahal.

"If we get time off from hockey, then I would like to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Taj Mahal in Agra," said Maqsood.

The tournament, which commenced on Wednesday will go on till April 2, and would involve 200 leading Indian and international players. The event will have 59 matches held across eight different venues -- Bangalore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Jalandhar, Mumbai and Pune.

(Agencies)