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Top 20 Hockey Players in India

Top 20 Hockey Players in India

Top 20

Top 20 Hockey Players in India

Indian hockey players have a remarkable aplomb and the nation stands as one of the top strong teams of field hockey in the world.

Field Hockey Sport in India

Indian hockey history begins with the British soldier colonial era. From 1885 to 1886 Calcutta became the first city to form a hockey club followed by Bombay and Punjab. India first hockey association was founded in 1908 and was called the Bengal Hockey Association. Organizations appeared in cities like Bombay, Bihar, Orissa and Delhi as the game gained popularity.

India took home the gold medal in hockey at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. India has won the Olympic Hockey Championship five times running. India’s successful Olympic hockey campaign was the reason the Indian Hockey Federation became well-known. Dhyan Chand, Allen, Norris, Pinniger, Yusuf Gateley and Cullen were the top Indian hockey players.

Hockey is also being played by women in India. Hockey for women has been included in the Asiad 82. They play at a quite high level. The athletes have been helped to achieve a notable level of performance through a series of coaching camps. In this Blog, we will discuss the Top 20 Hockey players in India.

Related blog: Top 20 Cricket Players in India 

Here, we’re going to look at some of the legendary players of hockey sport in India who are known for delivering brilliant performance and in India’s triumph at various tournaments held nationally and internationally.

20 Famous Hockey Players of India

The following (list sorted in alphabetical order) are twenty famous hockey players of India that are legends of the sport.

1. Ajit Pal Singh

Ajit Pal Singh Hockey Player

Ajit Pal Singh made his debut in the Indian hockey team in 1960. He went on to establish himself as a key member of the squad and represented India at three Olympics. The high in his career came in the year 1975, when the team he was part of wrote history to win the World Cup in 1975.

The former captain of the Indian hockey team will be recognised as amongst the most extraordinary centre-half players in the world. Ajit Pal Singh played a very prominent role in winning their only World Cup in 1975.

2. Akashdeep Singh

Akashdeep Singh Hockey Player

Akashdeep Singh is the forward position player for the Indian hockey team. He rose through the ranks of domestic tournaments and currently plays for Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey League and the Indian Hockey national team. He also was the captain of the youth India hockey and represents the senior team since 2013.

He represented India in the 2016 Olympics in Rio and again in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He delivered a brilliant performance at the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy and was awarded the player of the tournament award. He scored a total of 33 goals in over 170 matches played.

3. Balbir Singh Sr.

Balbir Singh Sr. Hockey Player

Balbir Singh, also popularly known as Balbir Singh Sr., played as the centre-forwards player for the Indian hockey team in 1948. In the match he scored eight goals in two matches and the team brought home the Olympic hockey gold medal in that year.

Balbir Singh Sr., would go on to become India’s most integral hockey player in the following years as he led the team to a second hat-trick winning golds at the Olympics. He scored five goals in the Helsinki 1952 finals, a record which stands to this day. He was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in 1957.

4. Deepak Thakur

Deepak Thakur Hockey Player

Deepak Thakur is a forward position player for the Indian hockey team. He represented India in the 1999 Asia Cup at Kuala Lumpur, 2001 Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup at Hobart, 2002 Asian Games at Busan, 2003 Asia Cup at Kuala Lumpur and the 2010 Commonwealth Games at New Delhi.

For his best performance in hockey, Deepak Thakur was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2004.

5. Dhanraj Pillay

Dhanraj Pillay Hockey Player

Dhanraj Pillay was one of the finest hockey players of India. He made his debut in the Indian hockey team in 1989 and has played four Olympics, four World Cups, four Asian Games, and four Champions Trophy tournaments throughout his career.

He played as the attacker against the defenders for the team. Renowned for his burst of pace which left defenders in his wake and combined with his ability to pick the perfect pass, he became one of the best attackers in international hockey in the 1990s.

He also led the Indian hockey team to the Asian Games, where the team won a gold in 1998 and a maiden victory at the 2003 Asia Cup. For his performance at hockey, Pillay was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1995.

6. Dhyan Chand

Dhyan Chand Hockey Player

Dhyan Chand made his Olympic debut with the Indian hockey team at Amsterdam in 1928 and scored 14 goals, winning him a gold medal. He would go on to win two more gold medals in consecutive Olympic Games which were held at Los Angeles in 1932 and as team captain in Berlin in 1936.

He went on to complete hat-tricks in two Olympic finals and retired with an unbeaten Olympic record to his name.

7. Gagan Ajit Singh

Gagan Ajit Singh Hockey Player

Gagan Ajit Singh is undoubtedly recognized as one of the leading forwards in the Indian hockey team. During his tenure, the Indian junior hockey team triumphed in the junior world cup of 2001 under his exceptional leadership. He also represented India in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics, where the team finished seventh in both editions.

Gagan, an esteemed player from Air India, achieved remarkable milestones in his hockey career. In the 1997 All India Gurmit Singh Tournament and Jawaharlal Nehru Tournament, he set a record for scoring the highest number of goals. Additionally, his exceptional skill led him to be the sole player from India selected for the Asian Men’s Hockey group in 2002. Gagan’s outstanding contributions to the sport were recognized by the Indian government when he was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award in the same year, 2002.

8. Harmanpreet Singh

Harmanpreet Singh Hockey Player

Harmanpreet Singh is a promising player who strives to take the sport of Indian hockey ahead, which is why he appears side by side with the names of famous hockey players in India. He scored a total of 56 goals in over 100 matches and gave his best performance at the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy tournament.

Harman’s stick play and defending skill has time and again left the audience mesmerised. His goal-scoring power and macho persona have won hearts of fans across the continent.

9. K. D. Singh

K. D. Singh Hockey Player

K. D. Singh or Kunwar Digvijay Singh, fondly known as “Babu” among his team-mates, was an outstanding Indian hockey player. Regarded as one of the finest inside rights in the history of Indian hockey, his skills and contributions remain unparalleled.

He has the honor of being awarded the Padma Shri in 1960 and has achieved gold medals in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics.

10. Leslie Claudius

Leslie Claudius Hockey Player

Leslie Claudius was the first player to have represented India in four consecutive Olympics and win 100 caps. A rock at the back, Claudius was full of energy and running. A leader on the pitch, he always held the back-line together and led from the front.

Claudius has won the most Olympic medals – 3 Gold and 1 Silver for India. He is considered to be the best half-back in the history of the sport.

11. Manpreet Singh

Manpreet Singh Hockey Player

Currently, the captain and half-back position player of the Indian national hockey team is Manpreet Singh. Manpreet is renowned for his vibrant personality, exceptional leadership abilities, and commendable on-field support. He showcased his remarkable skills and leadership qualities during the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, where he led the Indian hockey team to their best performance. Manpreet is widely recognized as the most highly regarded hockey player in India at present.

Manpreet has actively participated in numerous tournaments, contributing to India’s success in winning four gold, five silver, and three bronze medals. With him leading the national team, the future of Indian hockey appears promising. Manpreet’s name is on the path to becoming synonymous with famous hockey players in India. Furthermore, his recent accomplishment of receiving the FIH Player of the Year 2019 award highlights his exceptional skills and talent.

12. Mohammad Shahid

Mohammad Shahid Hockey Player

Mohammad Shahid was one of the skilled Indian hockey players. He made his debut in the Indian Hockey Junior team in 1979, and in 1980, he was included in the Olympics squad. Shahid played as an attacking winger for the team. The Indian hockey team had won their eighth and final gold medal to date at the Olympic Games held in Moscow in 1980. It was also India’s last Olympic medal in hockey.

He continued to etch his name as one of the finest hockey players in India in the coming decade, highlighted by winning a bronze medal at the Asian Games in 1986. Shahid retired from hockey in 1989.

13. P. R. Sreejesh

P. R. Sreejesh Hockey Player

P. R. Sreejesh stands as the most skilled goalkeeper of the Indian hockey team. His penalty-saving performance at the Asian Champions Trophy in 2011 against Pakistan brightened his career. His shot-stopping skills have firmly established him as one of the top goalkeepers in the world.

P. R. Sreejesh, the esteemed Indian hockey player, provided remarkable contributions to the Indian hockey team. In the inaugural FIH Pro League campaign in 2020, Sreejesh served as the captain and played a pivotal role in guiding the team to an impressive four victories. Notably, he showcased his expertise in defending penalty shots, successfully securing triumphs for his team in two such crucial moments. Additionally, Sreejesh exhibited exceptional skills and performance at the 2020 Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan, earning him the prestigious title of Player of the Tournament.

14. Roop Singh

roop singh image

Roop scored goals in a more understated manner than Dhyan Chand although he was still brilliant when he was not in the spotlight. Roop Singh participated in the 1932 Olympic Games for the first time and outscored his brother in the Los Angeles Olympics. Roop Singh was on a scorching streak scoring an incredible 13 goals in two games.

He scored ten goals on his own in the decisive match against the USA. Roop Singh played a key role in India gold medal victory at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He was the only Indian player to score in every game with nine goals. 

15. S. K. Uthappa

S. K. Uthappa Hockey Player

S. K. Uthappa is a midfield position player for the Indian hockey team. He made his debut in hockey in 2012. Since then, he has effectively participated in more than 100 international matches and has scored over 10 goals.

His experience and aggressive play style have made him one of the famous hockey players in India. He also captained the Indian hockey team at the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy tournament. Uthappa received the Ekalavya award in 2014 for his fantastic performance on the field.

16. Sandeep Singh

Sandeep Singh Hockey Player

Sandeep Singh, an Indian field hockey player, captained the Indian team in the 2009 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, where they emerged victorious against Malaysia in the finals. Additionally, Singh played a crucial role in securing a silver medal for his team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

In 2010, he received the esteemed Arjuna Award as a recognition of his accomplishments. His remarkable journey served as the inspiration for the biographical film “Soorma,” which was released in 2018..

17. Sardara Singh

Sardara Singh Hockey Player

Sardara Singh, the former Indian field hockey player, served as the captain of the men’s national team from 2008 to 2016. During his tenure, he played a pivotal role in leading the team to victory in the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon, where they secured the gold medal.

Sardara Singh, in addition to his numerous achievements, clinched the gold medal at the 2017 Asia Cup held in Dhaka. Furthermore, his outstanding contributions to the field earned him the esteemed Padma Shri award in 2015.

18. Shankar Lakshman

Shankar Lakshman Hockey Player

Shankar Lakshman achieved great success as a goalkeeper for the Indian hockey team during the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Olympics, where the team secured two gold medals and one silver medal. Interestingly, he was also the first goalkeeper to be appointed captain of an international hockey team. Additionally, Lakshman served as the captain of the Indian team that triumphed with a gold medal in the 1966 Asian Games.

He was awarded the Arjuna award and the Padma Shri by the Indian government.

19. Udham Singh

Udham Singh Hockey Player

Udham Singh was a solid rear-guard player of the Indian hockey team, but also had the ability to play as the inside-forward for the team. A player known for his finesse and fluency in his play, he was a treat to watch on the Indian side that dominated the 1950s.

He played in four Olympics, which were at Helsinki in 1952, Melbourne in 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo in 1964.

20. V. R. Raghunath

V. R. Raghunath Hockey Player

V. R. Raghunath, renowned for his exceptional skills as a fullback and drag-flicker, rose to prominence after making his debut in the 2003 sub-junior Asia Cup, where he helped lead the Indian team to victory. Throughout his illustrious career, Raghunath has achieved numerous accolades, including receiving the prestigious Arjuna Award. Notably, he has secured several medals, including a Commonwealth silver and an Asia Cup gold, solidifying his status as one of the best in the game of Indian hockey.

Raghunath scored more than 130 goals in over 220 matches. His performance in the international arena is visible from the statistics. He was adjudged the Best Player of the Asia Cup tournament in 2013 for his extraordinary contributions.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, while it has never been formally recognized hockey is the national sport of India. But by recreating hockey golden age we can officially declare this. The government does not now fund our hockey team but with our help they can restore hockey to its former grandeur.

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