After a one year hiatus, India's annual hockey Test series against arch-rivals Pakistan will be back on track this year even though the timing is not what the ad-hoc committee in New Delhi would have liked.
Aslam Sher Khan, who leads the ad-hoc selection committee, said India would have loved to have it before the the Junior Asia Cup, scheduled for July 8-18 in Hyderabad, so that the under-21 players could be given some exposure but Pakistan's packed schedule before the Beijing Olympics came in the way.
"The ad-hoc committee was having negotiations with the Pakistan Hockey Federation officials for a possible India-Pakistan Test series, and on principle, they have agreed. But the series won't be possible before the Junior Asia Cup," Khan told PTI.
"We wanted the series to take place in July but there is hardly any space in Pakistan's schedule as they are busy preparing for the Olympics. But they have committed to us and agreed to play the series after the Olympics," he said.
Nonetheless, Khan was happy that the series, last played in 2006, was being revived, thanks to efforts of the Indian Olympic Association-appointed ad-hoc committee, which is running the game in the country following the suspension of the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation.
Both parties are in negotiation to finalise the dates and venues of the reciprocal tour, he said.
He said that in a bid to popularise the game in the sub-continent, India and Pakistan, from now onwards, would play regularly.
The ad-hoc committee was also toying with the idea of having a tri-series with Malaysia being the third nation.