Dhanraj Pillay born on July 16, 1968 is without doubt one of the best hockey players produced by India. A household name in Indian hockey, during his playing days he was perhaps the fittest, agile and potent striker in the team. Pillay, referred as a magician with a hockey stick made his international debut when he was 21-year-old. As the former hockey sensation turns 46 we line-up top reasons why you should remember him on his birthday.
Captained the National side
It is an achievement to represent your country in a sport you play and to better it when you lead your nation at an International level. Dhanraj Pillay who has played 339 matches captained Indian men’s hockey side and it was under his captaincy India won the Asian Games (1998) and Asia Cup (2003).
Gold and glory
Being the highest scorer he helped India win gold in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games for the first time in 32 years and he became the only Indian player to feature in the World Eleven side during the 1994 World Cup at Sydney. Pillay has received the highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for the year 1999-2000 and was awarded the Padma Shri, in 2000. He was awarded the player of the tournament award in the 2002 Champions trophy held at Germany.
A record to his name
He is the only player to have played in four Olympics (1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004), four World Cups (1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002), four Champions Trophies (1995, 1996, 2002, and 2003), and four Asian Games (1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002).