July was an eventful month for Indian hockey as a series of events took place over the last five weeks or so. The chief highlight has been the sacking of men’s team coach Paul van Ass. The decision of discontinuing the services of the Dutchman was taken by a committee of former players and Olympians on July 25.
Elsewhere, the Indian men’s team left for France last week for the Europe Tour. The men in blue will be playing in France and Spain during the month of August. All this and more in this installment of Indian Hockey monthly review.
Paul van Ass no longer Indian Hockey coach:
Paul van Ass, who was appointed the coach of the Indian men’s hockey team in March 2015 was sacked by Hockey India following his differences with the governing body. It all began on July 1, when India beat Malaysia in the FIH Hockey World League Semi-finals. Dr. Narinder Batra, secretary of Hockey India came down to the field to talk to the players. Van Ass told Dr. Batra that it was the inappropriate place and time to talk to the players and pressurize them and it was the difference of opinion that has made Hockey India come to a conclusion like this, according to the coach.
Following the altercation, van Ass did not return with the team as he boarded a flight home soon after the completion of the Hockey World League. Roelant Oltmans, who played the role of stand-in coach after the departure of former coach Terry Walsh, will be handed over the reigns.
Indian men’s hockey team to play in France and Spain
After a fourth-place finish at the Hockey World League, the Indian men’s hockey team will be travelling to France and Spain for a five-match Europe tour. This will be Roelant Oltmans’ first assignment as head coach and he would look to make an impact straightaway. Spanning over a period of 11 days, between August 3 and 13, the men in blue will play two matches against France and three against Spain. View match schedule here.
The Indian hockey team will be led by Sardar Singh along with PR Sreejesh, who will serve as his deputy. Attacking midfielder Gurbaj Singh has been dropped from the side but the return of SV Sunil and VR Raghunath will provide a major boost. The Indian forward and defender missed the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals as they were nursing an injury.