The Sports Ministry on Thursday appointed a six-member panel comprising former India hockey captains Ajit Pal Singh, Ashok Kumar and Zafar Iqbal to assess the demands made by Terry Walsh to stay on as the chief coach of the national team. (Read: Hockey India Appoints MK Kaushik as Central Zone's High Performance Manager)
The panel has little time to decide on the future of Walsh, who has categorically said that he won't continue after his contract expires on November 19, if he doesn't have his way in running of the team.
Sports secretary Ajit Sharan said the Ministry wants Walsh to carry on.
"I have constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Ajit Pal Singh, also comprising Ashok Kumar and Zafar Iqbal.
"This committee along with representatives from Hockey India and High Performance Director (Roelant Oltmans), will see to what extent Walsh's demands are reasonable, to what extent we can go along and so on. We would obviously like to retain him if possible," Sharan told PTI adding that the panel most likely will give their opinion to the ministry in a day or two.
Walsh's sudden resignation last month came as a surprise to many after he guided India to their first Asian Games gold in 16 years. A day later, however, the Australian agreed to continue in his role provided his conditions were fulfilled.
Last week, India stunned World Champions Australia in Perth under Walsh's guidance. Besides asking for more decision-making powers for himself and Oltmans, Walsh wants handpicked personnel as his support staff and more time with family in Australia.
It has been reported that Walsh has asked for 120 days of paid leave, during which, he will keep in touch with the team through video conferencing.
When Sharan was asked about Walsh's demand for paid leave: "Walsh has said that there won't be a compromise on training of players, when he is away. Anyway, I am not an expert to say anything on the subject and that is why I have got these experts (three-member panel) to take a view on the matter.
"Their main job will be to study the demands put forth by Walsh and see what is in the best interest of the team," added Sharan. (Read: Sports Authority of India Keen to Resolve Terry Walsh Matter, Want him to Stay)
The uncertainty in India hockey comes at a time, when the team is showing progress and weeks before the prestigious Champions Trophy begins in Bhubaneswar from December 6.