World’s Greatest Field Hockey Players

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The recently concluded Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 was won by Germany with a 5-4 penalty shootout against Belgium. It was the third World Cup of Germany. The next World Cup will be held in 2026 in Belgium and Netherlands.

Field hockey is a popular game played with a curved stick and ball. The game demands speed, agility, and control over the ball. Players try to grip the ball with their sticks and score goals. You will be surprised to know that some players can do magic with sticks. They run with speed while maintaining excellent balance and control over the ball.

Here’re the greatest players of field hockey

10. Fergus Kavanagh (Australia)

Born: 21 May 1985, Dublin, Ireland      

Playing Position: Defender

Medals: 8 (G), 3 (B)

A proud member of the Australia men’s national field hockey team, Fergus Kavanagh won a medal in almost every championship or tournament he played. He was born in Ireland but his family moved to Western Australia when he was just 4. He started playing hockey in primary school and continued to excel in the game. Today he is known for his excellent defending abilities that made him one of the biggest assets of the Australian hockey team.

9. Dhanraj Pillay (India)

Born: 16 July 1968, Khadki, Pune, Maharastra, India

Playing Position: Forward

Played: 1989-2004

Apps/Gls: 399/170

Medals: 3 (G), 1 (B), 5 (S)

Awards: Padma Shri (2000)

After playing mesmerizing hockey on the world stage, Dhanraj Pillay took retirement in 2004. But he is still known for lightning-fast speed, dribbling, and goal-scoring abilities that made him one of the greatest hockey players in the world. He represented the Indian hockey team in various tournaments and won awards and accolades for the country. He also played hockey for various international clubs.

8. Jamie Dwyer (Australia)

Born: 12 March 1979, Rockhampton, Queensland,


Playing Position: Centre

Played: 2001-2016

Apps/Gls: 326/215

Medals: 14 (G), 2 (B), 5 (S)

Jamie Dwyer is a maestro of field hockey. He displayed exceptional skills while playing for Australia. He had good footwork and control over the ball. Also, there were a few players that could match the speed and agility of Jamie Dwyer. In childhood, he played cricket but drifted towards hockey in the later years of his life.

7. Ties Kruize (Netherlands)

Born: 17 November 1952, The Hague, Netherlands

Apps/Gls: 202/167

Medals: 4 (G), 1 (B), 1 (S)

The world saw Ties Kruize playing Olympic Games in 1972 and 1984 and got mesmerized by the exceptional skills of this Dutch player. He finished fourth and sixth in the 1972 and 1984 Olympics respectively but impressed the viewers with his dribbling, precise passing, and clinical finishing of attacks. But he was more popular for penalty corners. His father Roepie Kruize was also a hockey player of the Dutch national hockey team.

6. Teun de Nooijer (Netherlands)

Born: 22 March 1976, Netherlands

Medals: 10 (G), 6 (B), 7 (S)

There are a few hockey players with exceptional stick work like Teun de Nooijer displayed during Olympic Games. His ability to dictate the game made him champion twice in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Also, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that Teun de Nooijer was the driving force behind the Dutch hockey team that became a three-time World Champion and two-time Olympic champion.

5. Shahbaz Ahmed (Pakistan)

Born: 1 September 1968, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Playing Position: Forward

Medals: 1 (G), 1 (B)

One of the greatest players in field hockey, Shahbaz Ahmed has earned many nicknames. In Pakistan, he is called “The Sultan of Hockey” and international fans know him as the “Maradona of Hockey”. He astonished spectators with his exceptional dribbling and passing skills during world championships including Asia Cup and Hockey World Cup.

4. Hassan Sardar (Pakistan)

Born: 22 October 1957, Karachi, Pakistan

Playing Position: Forward

Medals: 3 (G)

Hassan Sardar is of the greatest players of field hockey Pakistan has ever produced. His name will be etched in gold letters in the history of Pakistan. He impressed everyone including his critics with his amazing stick work. It is said that he was blessed with the power to control the ball with hockey. His hat trick against the arch-rival India during the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi was the best game of his career.     

3. Ric Charlesworth (Australia)

Born: 6 February 1952, Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia

Played: 1972-1988

Apps/Gls: 227/85

Medals: 1 (G), 2 (B), 1 (S)

Ric Charlesworth captained the Australian hockey team in five Olympic Games from 1972 to 1988. He had excellent dribbling skills and amazing abilities to always remain ahead in the game. Also, he coached the Australian Women’s Hockey team from 1993 to 2000. It is due to his contribution to field hockey that he was added to the Australian Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008. He was the second Australian to get this honor.

2. Sohail Abbas (Pakistan)

Born: 9 June 1977, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan 

Playing position: Defender Full-back

Played: 1998-2012

Apps/Gls: 311/348

Sohail Abbas has developed amazing drag-flick abilities that allowed him to score goals and become the second-highest goal scorer in international field hockey. His drag-flick strokes were so lethal that his fans started calling him the ‘King of the drag flick’. It was his dedication and passion for the game that he became a legend in field hockey.

1. Dhyan Chand (India)

Born: 29 August 1905, Allahabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India

Died: 3 December 1979, New Delhi, India

Played: 1926-1949

Apps/Gls: 185/570

Medals: 5 (G)

Awards: Padma Bhushan (1956)

Dhyan Chand will always be known for his exceptional ball control and goal-scoring feats. It is only due to this legendary player that India dominated field hockey and won seven out of eight Olympics from 1928 to 1964. His fans still call him ‘The Wizard’ or ‘The Magician’ because there is no one that can even match his skills. The Indian government announced awards in recognition of the contribution of Dhyan Chand to field hockey.

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