"Terry Walsh is leaving Indian hockey in the lurch," said former national chief coach Michael Nobbs. Walsh had replaced Nobbs after the latter resigned on health grounds last year.
Saying Walsh's resignation is "sad" and "shocking", Nobbs thought the decision was badly timed. "India is still celebrating the Asian Games gold and the junior lads have won the Johor Cup. This is not the time to go away," Nobbs told sports.ndtv.com from Sydney on Tuesday. (Full Text of Terry Walsh's Resignation Letter)
Walsh's "confidential" resignation letter to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General was emailed to the media by Hockey India president Narinder Batra on Tuesday afternoon. Batra is currently up in arms with the SAI bosses over financial matters. Walsh was apparently facing tax issues with SAI, his employers. (Also read: India win Sultan of Johor Cup for the 2nd time)
In his resignation letter to the SAI, Walsh has mentioned "bureaucratic" and "personal" reasons for quitting. "He should have known Australia's tax laws. There is no reason to complain. Yes, India is a challenging country but he was getting massively paid (reportedly $15000/month plus perks) for the job," said Nobbs, who was India's chief coach for close to three years.
Walsh's annual contract was expiring next month. It is not clear if SAI was keen to renew it. "All contracts are annual and renewal is usually a formality. I believe Terry was having some problems with SAI. But to quit like this is being unprofessional," said Nobbs.
Nobbs had quit on health grounds and Walsh was definitely home-sick. "He surely was. Coaching in India is not easy and when you have a family back home, it's tough. Terry was obviously getting fed-up and the Australia tax laws are quite tough if you want to earn money abroad. To stay away from home for almost 10 months can affect you mentally and physically," said Nobbs.
From India's hockey future point of view, Nobbs said Walsh is leaving after paving India's path to the Rio Olympics. "I think he is leaving a job just well begun. During my time, India struggled to make the London Olympics. Now is the time to walk the hard path and Walsh's exit just before the Champions Trophy is not good at all," said Nobbs.
Nobbs said he was keen to return to India but "not as chief coach of the national team." "I will be happy to do any developmental work. India have a lot of talent to harness," he said.