Bogged down by controversies in the past few months, the Indian hockey team begins its campaign in the Asian Champions Trophy by taking on hosts China on Saturday marking the start of its preparations for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.
It has been a turbulent last six months for Indian hockey because of the tussle between the two federations.
Sandeep Singh and Sardara Singh - dropping out citing issues with the management - and injuries ruling out star players like Tushar Khandkar, Shivendra Singh and Arjun Halappa, will also pinch India. Like hockey is trying to find its feet among the Mongol population in Ordos, so is new coach Michael Nobbs with the Indian team.
He is hoping to give the boys a flying start against the hosts, no mean opponents even though they have lost some momentum in the years after their Korean coach Kim Sang Ryul left the team. "I hope we win and have a good start," said Nobbs. "The other teams are good and have some big players."
China have a good counter-attacking ability but they are also very good at set pieces. "I know the defence requires some work. But I am confident that this tournament is a way forward," he said.