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India hockey team players suspended

Five members of the Indian contingent including Gurbaj Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Tushar Khandkar were suspended on Saturday for various durations for their role in the skirmish with Pakistani players in the three-Nation International Hockey Series at Busselton, in Australia on Friday.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2011 00:47 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant

Five members of the Indian contingent including Gurbaj Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Tushar Khandkar were suspended on Saturday for various durations for their role in the skirmish with Pakistani players in the three-Nation International Hockey Series at Busselton, in Australia on Friday.

Gurbaj Singh, who received two stitches on his head, has been suspended for three matches, Chandi for five while Khandkar will have to sit out one match in the second leg of the tournament at Bunbury, near Perth, from Monday. India will play Australia on Monday and meet archrivals Pakistan the next day. The final will be played on Thursday.

Tournament director Graham Napier also suspended the Indian team's assistant coach Jugraj Singh for five matches while exercise physiologist David John was penalised for one game, according to Hockey India sources. It was not clear how the organisers would implement the sentence against officials Jugraj and David John as both don't take the field.

Players from both the teams liberally used their fists and hockey sticks towards the end of the 3-3 draw on Friday after Gurbaj struck a Pakistani forward with his stick while trying to clear the ball. The umpire awarded a penalty corner but even as the Indian players were retreating, the Pakistanis led by skipper Shakeel Abbasi pounced on Gurbaj.

Unconfirmed reports said three Pakistani players were also punished for their involvement in the violence.

However, neither Hockey India nor the Indian contingent was sure how the organisers will enforce the five-match suspension as only three matches remain in the tournament. HI has asked the team management to take all steps to safeguard the team's interest and lodge an appeal if they feel it would affect players' participation in subsequent tournaments.

One good thing that came out of the incident was that the organisers have decided to get neutral umpires for the remaining matches.