In between, after Roelant Oltmans' sacking in September 2017, Hockey India (HI) handed the reigns of the Indian men's team to women's coach Sjoerd Marijne, a man who had never coached a men's team before.
Similarly, junior men's World Cup-winning coach Harendra Singh was entrusted with the women's job. Harendra too had never coached a women's team before, raising serious doubts over HI's move.
Manpreet in the saddle
But the experiment came to a premature end following India's loss to England in the bronze medal match at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
The CWG outing forced HI to go for a coach swap, probably for the first time in Indian hockey, with Harendra replacing Marijne in the men's team and the Dutchman rejoining the women's side.
Amid the chopping and changing of coaches, the captain's armband also passed many hands after Sardar was dropped from the Commonwealth Games squad and Manpreet replaced him.
Every tournament and every bad result prompted HI to go back to its tried and tested formula of "chopping and changing".
But after Harendra's elevation to the men's team, Sardar made a comeback along with goalkeeper PR Sreejesh after a long injury lay-off.
They returned for the final edition of the Champions Trophy in Breda, Netherlands, where India recorded its best result of the year, finishing second after losing to Australia in the shoot-out.
Sardar was one of the best performers for India in the Champions Trophy, marshalling the midfield with aplomb, which earned him a place in the Asian Games squad.
India went into the Asiad as favourites to retain the gold medal but it was not to be as the defending champions lost to Malaysia in a shoot-out in the semifinal, eventually returning with a consolation bronze.
Harendra's future under scanner
But the failure to defend the Asian Games title and a direct berth in Tokyo Olympics was a serious setback and had its share of repercussions, Sardar being the first casualty.
Change remained the only constant for Indian hockey, and this time Harendra decided to make wholesome changes in the World Cup squad, putting his faith on World Cup-winning junior players in place of experienced campaigners like Rupinder Pal Singh and SV Sunil among others.
Going ahead in 2019, India's most important task would be to qualify for the Olympics and with the country opting out of the Pro League, it remains to be seen what the Blue Sticks will do to book their ticket to Tokyo.
Harendra's future as India coach is also under scanner.