The proposed appointment of Maharaj Kishan Kaushik as assistant coach to the men’s hockey team may have triggered speculation on the future of chief coach Michael Nobbs, but the man himself has remained unperturbed.

On Monday, Nobbs spoke about the decision, saying he welcomed it and tried to put to rest any rumours of insecurity. “Kaushik is a great choice and I am really glad that he has been brought in,” Nobbs told The Hindu from Sydney.

“I have been trying for some time now to get him into the coaching programme and as part of the team, but what transpired earlier to him prohibited this from happening,” Nobbs said, indicating that the appointment was not a surprise. “I think he is a shining light in Indian hockey, especially in coaching. It’s a great move,” he added.

Kaushik had been forced to leave charge of the senior women’s team three years ago following allegations of sexual harassment. He was subsequently exonerated and given a clean chit by both the sports ministry and the federation inquiry committees. His name had earlier been proposed for the junior men’s team but Hockey India later expressed a desire to have him with the senior squad. The upcoming Asia Cup is likely to be his first assignment. Asked about India’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup, Nobbs was optimistic. “Of course, winning the Asia Cup would be perfect.

“But I think we should qualify as long as we finish well at the Asia Cup, based on our ranking. I am going through the results from the Hockey World League Round 3 tournament in Malaysia and I still need to confirm the exact situation,” he said. Kaushik, on the other hand, is happy with Nobbs’s words. “It’s a very good thing. I have always held that if the final aim is the same, then people can work together.

“There has been speculation on whether we will be able to work together, but I don’t see any problem,” he said.

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