The inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in China next month will launch India's bid to qualify for the London Olympics, the team's new Australian coach said on Thursday.
Michael Nobbs, who took charge of India in July for a five-year period, was confident the eight-time Olympic champion still possessed enough talent to regain its old glory.
“Every team, without exception, has its good and bad phases,” Nobbs told reporters at the team's training camp in Bangalore. “My job is to make sure the bad phase of Indian hockey is replaced by the good phase.”
India's first real test under Nobbs will come when it takes on the continent's finest in the Asian Champions Trophy to be played in the Chinese town of Ordos from September 3 to 11.
The tournament features the top six at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year — gold medallists Pakistan, losing finalist Malaysia, third-placed India, South Korea, Japan and China.
“If we do well, it will mean we are on the right track. If the team does really bad, we will know how much more needs to be done,” Nobbs said.
India, which failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, can book a place in the 2012 London Games only if it wins the qualifying tournament at home in New Delhi next February.
India is also due to host the International Hockey Federation's elite Champions Trophy in New Delhi from December 3 to 11.