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Struggling India axes hockey coach Nobbs

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Australian Michael Nobbs, head coach of the India team, takes part in a team practice session in Melbourne on December 7, 2012. India's field hockey chiefs sacked Nobbs due to the team's poor performances, making the Australian the fourth foreign coach to be axed in the past decade.AFP/File

India's field hockey chiefs on Tuesday sacked national coach Michael Nobbs due to the team's poor performances, making the Australian the fourth foreign coach to be axed in the past decade.

"Nobbs will not be working with the national team," Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra told reporters in New Delhi. "We have informed the Sports Authority of India about it.

"It was felt that Nobbs was unable to improve the team's performance or produce the desired results."

Hockey India's high performance director, Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, will step in as a temporary replacement for Nobbs before the next coach is appointed, Batra said.

Nobbs, 58, was appointed Indian coach in June 2011 for a five-year term that would have seen him in charge until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The former Australian international, who played in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, made no immediate comment on his sacking.

India, who won the last of their eight Olympic hockey golds in 1980, finished last in the 2012 London Olympics under Nobbs. The team also failed to make the semi-finals in the recent World Hockey League in the Netherlands.

Nobbs follows in the footsteps of three other foreign coaches -- Spaniard Jose Brasa, Australian Ric Charlesworth and Germany's Gerhard Rach -- whose contracts were terminated prematurely by India's hockey bosses.

Oltmans, 58, will take charge for next month's Asia Cup tournament in Malaysia, which India must win to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands.

The Dutchman will be assisted at the Asia Cup by former India player Maharaj Krishan Kaushik.