By Michael Nobbs
It’s been a few days since the controversial match against Pakistan with Indian players being suspended. It’s really upset me and the team. Even before the Pakistan match, I was anxious. Remember the Pakistan umpire in Ordos? He was particularly biased and lacked control during the game.
Well, the previous night (before our game against Pakistan) he umpired Pakistan Vs Australia and Richard Charlesworth had a major issue with his umpiring. I was standing with Robert Haigh and said at the start of the match that it would be difficult to score against him in the second half. Robert said the goals would have to be clean. Well, Australia never forced a penalty corner against them in the second half and still Australia got into their circle 14 times.
I would love to see the statistics to see when Australia never forced a corner against a team with that amount of circle penetration. Jamie Dwyer had a shot at goal and the Pakistan defender hit Jamie’s stick away as he was shooting which was clearly a penalty stroke but he was awarded a hit against Jamie for stick obstruction.
I rang the next morning and informed him that I am placing him under formal notification to FIH for the following reasons: that it would be completely unwise to name an Indian and Pakistan umpire on this game as they both have very little control and should the game get out of hand, a major incident will occur. These two nations have this sport as their national sport, and these games take on more significance than just a hockey game.
By now everybody in India has heard or read that the game was called off one minute 35 seconds from the end due to a player brawl. It was all caused by an accident on the field which had built up due to lack of umpiring control and “lack of duty of care” by these officials.
Mr Napier is now providing neutral umpires for the next game which entirely vindicates our position. I would like to know what repercussions will be made against him as he caused the entire problem. I am not sure what Pakistan players received penalties but as they started it I am sure what will happen but knowing Mr Napier’s lack of due process which has occurred in another incidence in Perth recently, I feel we will most assuredly get shafted. Let’s see if I am correct.
Anyway, that’s what happened and I am really angry about the whole situation and our preparation for the qualifiers gets harder and the Champions Challenge also becomes difficult with players suspended.
PS: I have just heard that only one Pakistan player has been suspended and that’s the captain. Once again I have been proved correct.
(Michael Nobbs is the Indian men's hockey coach)