India might appeal against suspensions

Still reeling from the five suspensions after an ugly showdown with Pakistani players, the Indian hockey team management will consider appealing against the penalty, insisting it was their counterparts who were at fault during the row.

Michael Nobbs

Midfielder Gurbaj Singh, forwards Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Tushar Khandker, assistant coach Jugraj Singh and exercise physiologist David John, who was the stand-in manager, were handed bans by tournament director Graham Napier after a hearing on Saturday.

While Gurbaj was suspended for three games, Chandi and Jugraj were banned for five. Tushar, John and Pakistan skipper Shakeel Abbasi  got one-match suspensions each.

India will decide on challenging the suspensions after being instructed by Hockey India. "The team management will appeal against the suspensions. We have directed them to follow the procedure that is needed for the appeal," Hockey India secretary Narinder Batra told PTI.

"As per the feedback that we have got from the team management, it was the Pakistani players who instigated us," he explained.

The incident occurred on Friday during the first leg of an ongoing series in Busselton. The trouble began with just 95 seconds left on the clock. Gurbaj reportedly hit Shafqat Rasool's leg as he tried to edge past him.

Soon, it became a full-fledged brawl. "It was a disaster waiting to happen. It is disappointing to see players being suspended. I don't know what happened but Pakistan's players were the ones who instigated us," coach Michael Nobbs had said after the game.

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