The Indian team management on Monday appealed to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) against suspensions imposed on five members of the squad for their role in the ugly showdown with Pakistan players during the tri-nation tournament match in Burnbury, Australia, last week.
Midfielder Gurbaj Singh, forwards Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Tushar Khandeker, assistant coach Jugraj Singh and the team's exercise physiologist David John, who was the stand-in manager, were handed bans by tournament director Graham Napier for their involvement in the skirmish with the Pakistan players in the match.
While Gurbaj, who received two stitches on his head, was suspended for three matches, Chandi and Jugraj were banned for five.
Tushar and John got one-match suspensions each, while Pakistan skipper Shakeel Abbasi was also handed the same punishment.
"As per the norm, we have asked chief coach (Michael) Nobbs and Hockey India CEO Elena Norman, who is along with the team, to file an appeal against the bans to FIH and they have already sent it," a Hockey India source said.
"The decision [of the tournament director] was completely biased. It is the Pakistani players who started it all. They instigated our players. The player who hit Gurbaj with the stick went scot-free. We feel we have a strong case," he added.
The ugly incident occurred during last Friday's match between the India and Pakistan in the first leg of the ongoing series in Busselton.
Trouble erupted with just 95 seconds left for the match to end. Gurbaj reportedly hit Shafqat Rasool's leg as he tried to edge past him. Abbasi confronted Gurbaj while a penalty-corner was awarded to Pakistan. Soon it became a full-fledged brawl with other players from both teams joining in.
Gurbaj sustained a cut on the head after being hit with a hockey stick and required two stitches.
Later, both teams decided not to continue with the match, which ended in a 3-3 draw, after India squandered a 3-0 lead.