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In this post, we will check out the top 10 greatest field hockey players of all time.
Field hockey, with its combination of skill, agility, and sheer determination, has captured the hearts of sports enthusiasts worldwide. Over the years, the sport has witnessed extraordinary talent, with players who have etched their names in the annals of history through their remarkable prowess on the field.
From masterful stickwork to impeccable game sense, these athletes have left an indelible mark on the sport, earning them a place among the greatest field hockey players of all time.
In this list, we celebrate the exceptional individuals who have consistently demonstrated their unrivaled brilliance and contributed to the evolution of field hockey.
These players have graced the international stage, representing their nations with unwavering dedication and showcasing their sublime skills to enthralled audiences. From iconic goalkeepers who have thwarted countless scoring opportunities to lethal forwards who have left defenders in their wake, the diversity of talent on display in this sport is truly awe-inspiring.
The criteria for selection in this esteemed group include not only individual achievements but also the impact these players have had on the game and their lasting legacy.
Their accomplishments on the field, as well as their leadership and influence on it, have elevated the sport to new heights and inspired generations to follow in their footsteps. Join us as we delve into the lives and careers of the top 10 greatest field hockey players of all time, and pay tribute to their extraordinary contributions to this exhilarating sport.
Table of contents
Top 10 Greatest Field Hockey Players of All Time
10. Fergus Kavanagh
Fergus Kavanagh is an Australian field hockey player. He plays Western Australia in the Australian Hockey League.
He is a member of the Australia men’s national field hockey team, winning a bronze medal with the team at the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics.
He won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Fergus was part of the team when Australia won the 2010 Delhi Hockey World Cup and 2014 The Hague World Cup.
He also represented Australia in the Azlan Shah Cup in 2011. Fergus Kavanagh is number 10 in our list of the top 10 best field hockey players in the world.
9. Dhanraj Pillay
Dhanraj Pillay is a retired Indian field hockey player and former captain of the Indian national team. Pillay had a remarkable career that spanned over two decades. His skill, agility, and unparalleled dedication to the sport earned him a place among the elite in the world of field hockey.
With his exceptional ball control and lightning-fast dribbling skills, he quickly became a force to be reckoned with on the field. Pillay’s ability to navigate through defenders and create scoring opportunities for his team was truly remarkable.
His leadership qualities were evident as he captained the team for several years, guiding them to numerous victories and podium finishes in international tournaments.
His contributions to the team were recognized with numerous awards, including the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honor.
He is the only player to have won the coveted Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri in hockey. Dhanraj emerged for India in four Olympic Games, World Cups, and Champion Trophies each.
He made 339 appearances for the national team and is recorded, unofficially, to have scored 170 goals. Dhanraj Pillay is number 9 on our list of the top 10 legendary field hockey players.
8. Jamie Dwyer
Jamie Dwyer is an Australian field hockey player. He now plays for YMCC Coastal City Hockey Club in the Melville Toyota League in Perth, Western Australia.
Jamie has played more than 350 matches for Australia and scored over 220 goals. He has represented Australia at the 2004 Summer Olympics where he won a gold medal and the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics where Australia won bronze medals.
He has also represented Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games where he won a gold medal and the 2010 Commonwealth Games where he also won gold.
Jamie is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Jamie Dwyer is number 8 in our list of the top 10 greatest field hockey players of all time.
7. Ties Kruize
Ties Kruize is a former field hockey player from the Netherlands. He contested at the 1972 and 1984 Olympic Games and finished in fourth and sixth place, respectively.
He became the world champion in 1973, the European champion in 1983, and exited from international competition in 1986, after the Hockey World Cup in London.
Kruize played 202 international matches for the Netherlands and scored a total number of 167 goals. He was renowned for his penalty corner.
He won the Gold medal in Amstelveen Hockey World Cup in 1973 and then won the Silver medal in the 1978 Buenos Aires Hockey World Cup.
6. Teun de Nooijer
Teun de Nooijer is a field hockey player from the Netherlands, who twice became Olympic champion with the Dutch national squad, in 1996 and in 2000, and was on the team in 2012.
De Nooijer was a prolific scorer and also a gifted dribbler and passer, and he was known for his ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. He was a complete player who excelled in all aspects of the game.
He is considered one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Teun is one of the most successful field hockey players of all time. Teun achieved a record 400 games as a forward of the Dutch national team on 15 August 2009.
He won gold medals in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and 2000 Sydney Olympics. Teunde Nooijer is number 6 in our list of the top 10 greatest field hockey players of all time.
5. Shahbaz Ahmed
Shahbaz Ahmed was a field hockey striker from Pakistan, who is considered one of the greatest players in history. He was nicknamed The Maradona of Hockey for his excellent dribbling skills with the stick. He headed his team and guided them to the victory of Men’s Hockey World Cup victory in 1994.
Shahbaz participated in three Olympic Games and won the bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics. He is the only player in Field Hockey history to achieve Player of the Tournament awards consecutive two times, in the 1990 and 1994 World Cup.
Shahbaz had an extremely fast pace and was known for being able to hit shots from any angle on the field and from any distance away from the goal.
If your team has a player like this on their roster then you can be assured that they’ll be able to score no matter what position they are playing at any given moment during playtime!
4. Hassan Sardar
Hassan Sardar is a former field hockey player and team captain from Pakistan, who won the gold medal with the Men’s National Hockey Team at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
He is arguably the best center-forward Pakistan has ever produced, he began his international career in the early 1980s and played his first World Hockey Cup in 1982.
In the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, he helped thrash India with a hat-trick as Pakistan won 7–1 under the Captaincy of Samiullah.
He was instrumental in guiding Pakistan to a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Hassan Sardar is number 4 in our list of the top 10 greatest field hockey players of all time.
3. Ric Charlesworth
Ric Charlesworth is a former Australian coach and hockey player. He was a member of the Australian team and portrayed in the five Olympics. And out of those, he played two times as the captain from 1972 to 1988.
Ric also guided his national team to win the World Hockey Cup in London in 1986. He has been anointed Western Australian Sportsman of the Year a record three times.
Ric was inducted into the Australian Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987. Ric Charlesworth is number 3 in our list of the top 10 greatest field hockey players of all time.
2. Sohail Abbas
Sohail Abbas is a former professional field hockey player from Pakistan who played as a Full-back. He is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
He started playing field hockey at a young age, and he quickly rose through the ranks of the Pakistani national team. Abbas is a drag-flick specialist, and he is widely regarded as the “King of the Drag Flick.”
He is known for his lethal flicks with great accuracy and speed in front of goal from penalty corners. He has scored numerous hat-tricks and even a double hat-trick in his career.
He is the highest goal scorer in international field hockey with 348 international goals. Abbas is the quickest to score 100 goals and 200 goals in international hockey history. He is also the only person in history to score 21 hat tricks.
1. Dhyan Chand
Dhyan Chand was an Indian field hockey player widely considered one of the greatest field hockey players in history. He was comprehended for his extraordinary ball control and goal-scoring feats.
In addition to attaining three Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932, and 1936, during an era where India dominated field hockey. His influence spread beyond these achievements, as India won the field hockey event in seven out of eight Olympics from 1928 to 1964.
He is known as The Wizard or The Magician of hockey for his excellent ball control, Chand played internationally from 1926 to 1949 where he scored 570 goals in 185 matches according to his autobiography.
He has scored over 1000 goals in his whole domestic and international career. BBC called him the “hockey’s equivalent of Muhammad Ali”.
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