Michael Nobbs replaced by M K Kaushik as India's hockey coach
After Michael Nobbs' sacking, many former Indian hockey stars lauded the decision and also rooted for MK Kaushik's appointment at the earliest. However, Nobbs was adamant that he was not 'pushed out' but willingly resigned from his post.
Olympian Maharaj Krishan Kaushik was on Wednesday appointed as a coach of the senior men's hockey team, just two days after chief coach Michael Nobbs was shown the door because of non-performance.
Kaushik, a member of India's last of the eight Olympic gold medal winning side in 1980 Moscow Games, will assist High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans, who will now double up as a chief coach till a suitable replacement for Nobbs is found.
Kaushik's appointment comes barely 48 hours after Australian Nobbs was prematurely relieved of his duties by Sports Authority of India for failing to produce the desired results.
However, Nobbs had insisted he was not pushed out and that he quit the job on his own terms because of his deteriorating health condition.
Kaushik will join the national camp at the SAI Centre in Bangalore starting July 16.
Kaushik's first assignment with the men's team will be the ninth Asia Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from August 24 to September 1, which India need to win to qualify for next year's World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.
Reacting to his appointment, Kaushik said: "I am very happy. It's an honour for any player to coach his country, I have experience of working with different people from the coaching fraternity and will give my best."
"I will now sit down with the entire team management and find out solutions which can help India qualify for next year's World Cup," he said.
Kaushik, however, said pressure would be high on India in the upcoming eight-nation Asia Cup.
"In Rotterdam the pressure was less but in the Asia Cup the pressure on the Indian team will be immense and we will have to perform under pressure," Kaushik told PTI.
Welcoming Kaushik's appointment, Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra said: "Mr. Kaushik had the desired credentials to work with the senior men's team. I am hopeful that with his contribution the team will make improvement in the coming days and wish the team good luck to win the 9th Asia Cup."
It may be recalled that it was the same set of office-bearers of Hockey India who removed Kaushik as coach of the senior women's team following allegations of sexual harassment by some members of the side. He was subsequently absolved of the charges following an enquiry by the Sports Ministry.
Kaushik, who retired as Deputy Director of Sports, Government of Haryana, had earlier coached both the senior men's as well as women's teams.
Under his coaching, the India men's team won its last major international tournament, a gold in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok.
An Arjuna awardee in 1998, Kaushik also guided the Indian eves to a bronze medal at the Doha Asian Games in 2006.