New Delhi: After a disappointing World League semifinals outing, Hockey India is expected to scurry itself for cover after reports of a fight between chief coach Paul van Ass and federation president Narinder Batra hit headlines.
According to a report in the Indian Express, a public confrontation occurred between Paul van Ass and Narinder Batra in Antwerp after the Indian-Malaysia in the quarter-final match at the World League semifinals. India just about managed to beat Malaysia, thanks to two miracles late drag-flicks from defender Jasjit Singh.
The report said that, a miffed Batra entered the field of play and had a word with the players, at which Van Ass intervened, asking him to leave the field.
“He was unhappy with the team’s performance. After the match, as the players were undergoing their cool-down exercises, Batra came near the dug-out and told the players that the performances needed to improve. He also suggested that the coach and captain should sit together and chart the way forward,” the report quoted a source.
It continued, “Van Ass wasn’t happy that Batra was talking to the players directly after the match. He reminded Batra that he was the coach and on field, only he had the authority to talk to the players. Batra was left red-faced and he eventually left but he told Van Ass that his behaviour was not acceptable.”
After the hard-fought win over Malaysia, India suffered a humiliating 0-4 defeat at the hands of hosts Belgium in the semis.
Van Ass was to submit his report to Hockey India over India’s performance in the tournament on July 16, but the Dutchman is yet to return from leave.
In between, another report in the same newspaper said that the chief coach's name is missing from the intimation letter sent to the players for national camp which begins at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, tomorrow.
Former Dutch national coach Van Ass joined Hockey India as the chief coach on January 30, had previously helped the Netherlands to a silver at the 2012 London Olympics.