Stung by five suspensions after an ugly showdown with Pakistani players during a match, the Indian hockey team management will consider appealing against the penalty insisting that it was their arch-rivals who were at fault during the fracas.
Midfielder Gurbaj Singh, forwards Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Tushar Khandker, assistant coach Jugraj Singh and the team's 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 matches, Chandi and Jugraj were banned for five. Tushar and John got one-match suspensions each, while Pakistani skipper Shakeel Abbasi was also handed the same punishment.
But the Indians 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 the Indian players but they (the organisers) thought it is the Indians and have penalised the Indian players for the fracas," he explained.
"The team management has been asked to send a video clipping of the entire incident and we will have a look as to what actually happened," Batra said.
The incident happened during Friday's match between the two sides in the first leg of an ongoing series in Busselton.
The trouble began when just 95 seconds were left for the match to end. Gurbaj reportedly hit Shafqat Rasool's leg as he tried to edge past him.
Abbasi confronted Gurbaj while a penalty corner was being given to Pakistan. Soon it became a full-fledged brawl with other players from both teams joining in.
Gurbaj sustained a cut in the head after being hit with a stick and required two stitches. Both teams decided not to continue with the match which ended in a 3-3 draw.
"It was a disaster waiting to happen. It is disappointing to see the players being suspended. I don't know what happened but the Pakistan players were the ones who instigated our players," Chief coach Michael Nobbs had said after the incident.
The second leg of the tri-nation tournament will be played here with India taking on Australia.