New Delhi: Australian Michael Jack Nobbs was on Wednesday appointed coach of the Indian men's hockey for an unprecedented five-year period, thus becoming the fourth foreign coach to take up the mantle of reviving Indian hockey.

The 57-year-old Nobbs, who succeeds Spaniard Jose Brasa and has been a player himself, will take over charge immediately in the national camp in Bangalore scheduled to start from Friday.

He will oversee the preparatory camp from July 3 till July 8 before flying back to Australia but will rejoin the camp again at the end of the month.

Nobbs' contract runs till the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and his pay cheque will start at 10,000 Australian dollars per month.

His remuneration will be hiked by 10 per cent if the struggling Indian hockey team manages to qualify for next year's London Olympics.

"Under my chairmanship, a committee comprising Sports Authority of India and Hockey India officials and some eminent former players unanimously selected Nobbs as our coach for the period upto 2016 Rio Olympics," SAI Director General Deepak Kumar told reporters here.

"The selection was based on several factors, most importantly his experience, organising capabilities, bio-data and the presentation he made before us.

"What weighed heavily in his favour is the fact that the Australian style of hockey suits us. It is similar to ours. We have decided to continue with that as we feel if Australia can be at the top with this style, why can't we?" he added.

Verma also said that Nobbs can expect another hike if the national team does well next year, as in a first in India hockey, his contract has a clause for performance-based incentives.

"After 2012 Olympics if the team does well, his (Nobbs) remuneration will be revised after mutual discussions," Verma said.

Asked about the reason behind giving Nobbs such a long contract and what if the national team failed to make it to the London Games, the SAI DG said, "Through our past experience we have learnt that we need a long-term engagement (with the coach)."

At present Nobbs will bring in only one support staff from Australia in exercise physiologist David John but if needed the game's administrators have agreed to engage more forigners with the team.

"We have also decided to let him bring an exercise physiologist who will be paid approximately to the tune of 5,000 Australian dollars. HI has also agreed to contribute to the expenses of other foreign support staff if we need in future," Verma said.

Nobbs beat competition from Dutch legends Roelant Oltmans and Jacques Brinkman, who is a twice Olympic and world champion, for India coach's job, which was lying vacant following the expiry of Spaniard Brasa's contract after the Asian Games last year.

"I am very excited, honoured and priviliged to get this job," said Nobbs, who was part of Australia's team for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

"I love Indian culture and have many Indian friends. I have grown up playing Indian style of hockey. So, it is an opportunity for me to give something back to Indian hockey," he said.

Nobbs has nearly two decades of coaching exprience and has extensively worked at the grassroot in Western Australia.

He also coached the Japan women's team.

Asked about the tough task at hand, the soft-spoken Australian said, "It is definitely a challenging job. The first thing which I need to find out is where Indian hockey is at present and analyse the players and the system in place.

"It is really sad to see the decline of Indian hockey but this is a chance for improvement. We need all the authorities concerned and the media to work together. We need public support to make India successful again."

Even though he has been handed the job with a long-term objective, Nobbs is completely aware about his immediate task.

"I hope we qualify for the Olympics. It is difficult but not impossible. It is a long-term project we are embarking on but I hope we achieve the short-term goals as well," he said.

His foreign predecessors might have complained about not getting fair say in selection matters, but Nobbs said he has been given freedom in his working by the administrators.

"I have been given complete free hand in what I want to do. I have some say in selection matters the reason is that I don't know all the players. I also feel that there should be different opinions on selection issues but in the end I will certainly have the final say," Nobbs said.

HI secretary general Narinder Batra also said that the new foreign coach will be an integral part of the selection process.

"The coach will have a very important say in the selection process," he insisted.

(Agencies)