India coach Jose Brasa on Monday lashed out at tournament director Ken Read for slapping Shivendra Singh with a three-match suspension for an "unintentional" foul against a Pakistani player during their hockey World Cup opener at Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Monday.
Brasa wondered why tournament director Ken Read had picked an Indian player while players of other teams were "let off with far more graver offences".
Read had suspended Shivendra for "deliberately" hitting Fareed Ahmed by lifting his stick during the high-voltage India-Pakistan encounter on Sunday but Brasa said other matches of the tournament so far were much more physical and graver offences were committed.
"The three-match suspension penalty was very harsh and in that sense wrong. I don't say he (tournament director) does not have the power under FIH rules. He has the authority but the decision was wrong. It was an enormous penalty for an unintentional foul," Brasa said.
"If Mr Read wants to send a message why did he pick the Indian team. My players were struck on the face in that match against Pakistan and matches involving Australia, England and other countries were much more physical involving graver offences by their players.
"I have never ever experienced a player being handed a three-match penalty in my life -- be it Olympics, World Cup or Champions Trophy. Three match is half of the World Cup. To penalise a player by suspending him half of a World Cup for an unintentional foul was enormous," said Brasa.
The experienced coach, however, made it clear that he was not suggesting that Read had acted in that way because he was from Australia, against whom India play on Tuesday.
"I am not even suggesting that he was biased against us as he is an Australian. I am just talking about his decision as a tournament director," he said.
Brasa said they expect Shivendra would be condoned by the Appeal's Jury, which will have FIH chief Leandro Negre as one of three members, from the penalty.
"We are hoping that Shivendra will be condoned of charges as it was just an unintentional foul trying to move ahead. I think, at least his penalty will be reduced," said the Spaniard.
He said the whole team was very sad after the incident and they would suffer if Shivendra has to serve the three-match ban.
"We will suffer because in that case we will have one less player for substitution. I need to keep players fresh and fit in the remaining matches against the likes of Australia, England and Spain. But with one man less we will suffer in the next three matches if Shivendra is banned," he said.