India arrived on Thursday morning in Doha from Dubai on a Qatar Airways flight and yesterday morning had their first training session at the Al Wakra Club's Stadium, while their first opponents Australia trained on the outside training pitch.
The weather in Doha isn't much different then in Dubai, so acclimatization shouldn't be an issue for the 'Bhangra Boys'. But with the tournament having now started and being on its way, one can feel the tension and happiness within the team that the first match is only hours away. It is a big stage for India and the players realise that and want to give their best.
The main topic of discussion has been around the in- or exclusion of captain Baichung Bhutia in the 23 player squad. Baichung is surely not fully fit, actually far from it but him not being in the squad would be a big mental blow to the team and could demoralise them with Baichung being a good motivator inside the team. If Baichung does not make it then now Churchill Brothers striker Mohammed Rafi would take his place, while Baichung would be made an official to be allowed to stay with the team.
And this issue has caused a lot of confusion over the day here in Doha with some already reporting that Baichung Bhutia is no longer part of the playing squad and has been made a team official to stay around the team. The issue was simple as no one can be registered as a player and official. If registered as both then the person concerned would be a team official and taken off the players list. This is something which hasn't happened as Baichung's registration as an official has been withdrawn and he is still a player.
But with Baichung's calf muscle injury not going away, he could only be used as a substitute, the injury could reappear and take him out for some more time. So a tough final call would have to be taken on this issue by Sunday evening.