A DAY AFTER India's hockey coach Paul van Ass claimed that he has been fired from the job, Hockey India (HI) president Narinder Batra today hit back at the Dutchman, saying that he was not a "good coach" and his fate would be decided by a special committee on Friday.
Batra confirmed that he had an altercation with a "rude" van Ass after India's match against Malaysia in the World Hockey League semi-finals at Antwerp, Belgium, but he had never sacked him.
Van Ass had yesterday created a flutter by claiming that he has been fired by HI following his public altercation with Batra.
The HI president also said that a committee has been formed to decide on the fate of the coach and it will take a decision on Friday. He said he had no ego problem and if the committee felt the coach should continue, he would himself go to The Netherlands to bring him back.
Batra said that Van Ass realised that it would have been difficult for him to deliver the goods in India as the system here is different.
"Paul is a good manager and a good motivator but not a good coach," insisted Batra.
"I am the one who is upset, is factually incorrect. I feel he has realised that unlike in Holland, where he would have a forward coach, a defender's coach, a coach for the mid-field, a strategist, a video analyst, etc, here in India he would have to perform on his own. That he has realised."
Batra also stressed that if everyone felt "I am a dictator, I will go".
Giving his version of the face-off, Batra said he had first asked the coach whether he could speak to the players.
Recalling the incident, Batra said: "India's match against Malaysia got over and the team had done the victory lap. The sponsors and organisers said 'the team wants to meet you' and I asked if I was suppose to go on the ground. They said yes and went down'. The first person I met was Paul and then I met the team. We had formed a circle and I asked the coach if I could speak to the players. Paul said yes and that was when I started speaking to them.
"I was talking to them in Hindi. I spoke for about 45-50 seconds and told them that 'your performance needs to be consistent. You had defeated Australia in Australia. You need to be more consistent as you guys are playing together for four years now. Nobody likes loses, not even the sponsors. So you need to be winning more'," Batra told 'NDTV'.