Dhanraj Pillay is without a doubt, one of the best forwards India has ever produced in hockey. For a man who had a humble beginning, he used to play with broken sticks in the Ordnance factory staff colony where his father was employed as a groundsman. His achievements since then have been exceptional.
Dhanraj The Player
Modelled his game on his idol, the legendary Mohammed Shahid, and played for India from 1989 to 2004 representing India in 339 matches, and scoring around 170 goals. He is the only Indian to feature in four World Cups, four Olympics, four Champions Trophy and four Asian Games. As captain, he led India to title triumphs at the 1998 Asian Games and 2003 Asia Cup. He is also the only Indian to feature in the World XI side at the 1994 World Cup.
Willingness To Coach Indian Side
Pillay has openly stated his desire to coach the Indian team and has expressed unhappiness at appointment of foreign coaches. As a player, Pillay was a mercurial forward who wore his heart on his sleeve. This quality of his didn’t do him much favour off the field, as he was known to rub hockey officials the wrong way. That is, perhaps, the reason why he has never been considered as a national team coach.
Imparting His Knowledge
He’s is currently the coach of multiple winners and perennial title contenders, Air-India. It goes to show how his expertise can come in handy as it is one of the strongest teams in the country’s domestic circuit.
Stint With Hockey India League
Pillay is also the technical director of the Uttar Pradesh Wizards franchise in the Hockey India League where Indian national team’s high performance director, Roelant Oltmans, is the head coach.
Dreaming Of An Academy
The passionate Dhanraj Pillay dreams of coming up with his own hockey academy and has been trying hard to raise funds for it. To do so, he began collecting empty printer cartridges and selling them to a European firm which recycles them. Last heard, he was facing issues regarding the academy, but it is pretty much sure that he won’t stop trying. Taking hockey out of Dhanraj Pillay is, to simply put, impossible!