The eternal enigma. On their day, India can beat anyone, enthralling the opponents and the spectators alike with a killer combination of skills and strategy. On an off day, however, they can lose to teams like Canada and Poland, who otherwise do not expect to win at top-notch tournaments. Which makes it difficult to predict what course the Indian team can take at the World Cup.
India are former champions but finished 10th in the last edition in 2002. They are eight time Olympic champions but at Athens in 2004, they were placed seventh. They finished third at the Azlan Shah this year, but haven't played a competitive tournament since then. All in all, India's track record is like their chances — unknown, unpredictable, dangerous.
Under coach Baskaran, the team has refound a fighting spirit. The defence remains solid with experienced Dilip Tirkey and Kanwalpreet Singh while Adrian D'Souza remains impressive under the bar. Upfront, there is Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad and Shivender Singh, led by Gagan Ajit Singh, but they need to gel in time to make an impact.
The loss of Sandeep Singh will affect the team's chances to a large extent but Arjun Halappa may be the surprise element in the team's plans.