Indian hockey coach Jose Brasa Monday minced no words in expressing his anguish at World Cup tournament director Ken Read's decision to hand a three-match suspension to forward Shivendra Singh for 'deliberately' hitting a Pakistani player, calling the ruling 'harsh' and 'unfortunate'.
Brasa said it has made things difficult for his team ahead of Tuesday's tie against tournament favourites Australia.
The Spaniard also said he did not agree with Read that Shivendra 'deliberately' hit Pakistani midfielder Fareed Ahmed.
'It was a normal movement of the stick. He was guiding the ball and it was not intentional. I have seen the video. And he was penalised for three matches which is half the World Cup. There was no complaint from the umpires and even the Pakistan team did not report it. The tournament director has the power, but penalising him for three matches is too harsh,' Brasa told reporters.
'I have never seen any player being suspended for three matches. Not even in the Olympics or the World Cup.'
Brasa said after the suspension the team has been reduced to 15 players and 'it will be a difficult task for players to grapple with the problem'.
'It will be demanding on the players physically because now we are one player less. We have to see that we maintain the intensity throughout the match. It will be difficult for me to make substitutions.'
When told of Read's comments that it would serve as an example for other teams, Brasa said: 'Why is the Indian team being presented as an example? Why not any other team? There was a lot of physical play in the other two matches on the opening day, but no player from any other team was warned.'
'I am angry and sad and so are the players.'
'But they have to get over it quickly as we play Australia Tuesday. They are a very good side. We have beaten Pakistan, but the players now need to focus on their next match.'
Incidentally, tournament director Read is also an Australian.
Asked whether he was optimistic that the suspension would be reduced after their appeal, Brasa said: 'I expect it to be reduced.'
A three-member committee, which will include International Hockey Federation chief Leandro Negre, will hear India's appeal Tuesday.