KARACHI - Keen to revive bilateral ties with India, the Pakistan Hockey Federation is planning to host the country for a Test series and has got the government's clearance for it even though the dates are yet to be finalised.

"The government has given us clearance for the series and also agreed to provide funds for the series," PHF President Akhtar Rasool said. The Pakistan Hockey Federation has planned a home and away bilateral hockey series with its Indian counterparts this year and Rasool said he was now awaiting a response from the Indian authorities.

"We are keen to have this series with India this year but now we are waiting to see the response from the Indian hockey federation as they also have to get clearance for the series," he added. Once dominant teams in the international arena, Pakistan and India are struggling to remain among the top nations. Pakistan even failed to qualify for this year's World Cup, a new low for the sport in the country. The PHF chief said it was necessary to bring more funds into the sport in Pakistan and also revive people's interest in hockey.  "That is why we see this planned series with India as very important. We are happy that our government is supporting us because. If this series goes through it will serve both purposes for us," he said.

The former Olympian said he was confident that with the formation of a new government in India some ice will melt between the two countries allowing for the hockey ties to be revived this year. "If this happens it will benefit both teams," he stated.