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Top 10 Best Hockey Players in India of All Time

People who aren’t much into the world of sports don’t actually know that Hockey is the national sport of India, not cricket. And despite being the national sport of the country, Hockey is still quite an underrated game mainly because sports like Cricket and Football feel more exciting and thrilling for the majority of the population. However things are changing quite fast, all thanks to some legendary names in the Hockey world, and now more and more people, especially the youth, are feeling curious about this sport.

And guess what? Today, we are going to talk about these legendary and top 10 best hockey players in India of all time that have long been an inspiration for many many in the country. You may have heard of some names from this list, but when you will read about the others, you’ll find yourself quite fascinated by their journey, and achievements. So yeah, let’s get down to it without further ado.

List of Top Hockey Players in India Ever

1. Dhyan Chand

Dhyan Chand

Have you ever heard of a guy so good at hockey, they called him “The Magician?” That’s our man, Dhyan Chand. With his wizard-like stick handling and a talent for finding the back of the net, Chand turned heads, dominated the field, and bagged himself three Olympic gold medals. His game, simply put, was hypnotic. During a time when India owned the hockey field, Chand was the king. His contributions to Indian hockey were so epic that they even named a prestigious sports award after him. Every year, on his birthday, we celebrate National Sports Day to honor his lasting legacy. He started out with an interest in wrestling, but destiny led him to hockey. Chand even turned down an offer to join the Nazi German army, staying true to his first love, hockey. His skills and achievements make him not just the greatest Indian hockey player, but arguably the best in the world. His legacy still inspires millions today.

2. Udham Singh Kular

Udham Singh Kular

Then there’s Udham Singh Kular, another beast on the hockey field. Despite his slight frame, Udham was a powerhouse, winning four Olympic medals, an honor he shares only with the legendary Leslie Claudius. Whether he was leading his college team or representing Punjab Police, Udham showed off his talent and true commitment to the game. He had a bit of a rough start, with an injury keeping him out of the 1948 Olympics, but he bounced back in style and helped India crush Afghanistan in 1949. Udham’s crowning moments came at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where he bagged gold medals. He even scored gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when India took the top spot back from Pakistan. Udham’s remarkable career has left a lasting legacy that’s about more than just his ability on the field; it’s about his adaptability and his incredible passion for the game.

3. Leslie Claudius

Leslie Claudius

This guy was a star in the hockey world, no question about it. He scored four Olympic medals, three gold, and one silver. Claudius put India on the map in the world of hockey, leading us to a victorious journey at the 3rd Asian Games in 1958. Even after retiring from international competitions, Claudius continued to make waves in domestic hockey until 1965. He was so good that the Indian government gave him the prestigious Padma Shri Civil Award in 1971. On top of all that, he was a rockstar in his day job too, serving with distinction in the Calcutta Customs Department.

4. Roop Singh

Roop Singh

Roop Singh, often overlooked but one hell of a hockey player, was another legend of the game. Roop was a force to be reckoned with at the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. He scored a staggering 13 goals during the 1932 Olympics, including 10 in the final against the USA! Then, at the 1936 Olympics, he scored in every single game. How’s that for consistency? Even though he lived in the shadow of his more famous brother, Dhyan Chand, Roop left a significant mark on the sport and is remembered as one of India’s finest hockey players.

5. Balbir Singh Dosanjh

Balbir Singh Dosanjh

Next, we’ve got Balbir Singh Dosanjh, or as we affectionately know him, Balbir Singh Senior. Balbir was a dynamo on the field, winning three Olympic gold medals and setting an unbroken record for the most goals scored in a men’s hockey final at the Olympics. He’s not just remembered for his incredible skill as a player though. He also had a successful run as a coach, leading India to victory in the 1975 Men’s Hockey World Cup. His skills and achievements were so legendary that he was named one of the 16 iconic Olympians at the 2012 London Olympics. His legacy still lives on in 2023, reminding us of the greatness he brought to Indian hockey.

6. Ajit Pal Singh

Ajit Pal Singh

Ajit Pal Singh Kular, a real gem in the world of Indian hockey, was born in the small town of Sansarpur, Punjab, on April Fool’s Day 1947. He captained the Indian hockey team, commanding the center half with flair and finesse. The Arjuna Award fell into his lap twice, in 1970 and 1972, a fitting testament to his hockey devotion. And who could forget his strategic brilliance at the helm of the Indian team during the 1975 Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur? In 2012, he broke new ground as India’s chef de mission for the Summer Olympics. Though health issues prevented him from attending, his selection was a big thumbs up for his passion and commitment. Now, he’s putting all his energy into nurturing young talents in the All India Balwant Singh Kapur Hockey Tournament.

7. Mohammed Shahid

Mohammed Shahid

If you’re talking about Indian hockey legends, you can’t skip Mohammed Shahid. His talent shone brightest at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, where he helped India seize the gold medal. Shahid’s career kicked off in 1979 with the junior team, and he quickly became known for his speed, perfect ball control, and potent push. He formed a deadly attacking duo with Zafar Iqbal that sent chills down opponents’ spines. His dazzling skills won him the title of ‘Best Forward Player’ at the 1980 Champions Trophy. As captain from 1985 to 1986, he injected passion and drive into the Indian team before hanging up his boots in 1989.

8. Shankar Lakshman

Shankar Lakshman

Without a doubt, Shankar Lakshman was a game-changer in the Indian hockey scene. He was a keeper like no other and the first goalie to captain an international team, demonstrating superb leadership. With Lakshman guiding the team, India took home a well-deserved gold medal at the Asian Games. His journey started with football, but he found his true calling in hockey after joining the Indian Army. Even though he narrowly missed the 1968 Olympics, his impact on the sport remains unmatched. Shankar Lakshman tragically passed away in 2006, leaving a void in the hockey world, but his legacy lives on.

9. K D Singh Babu

K D Singh Babu

As an Inside Right, K.D. Singh glided past opponents with unmatched skills. His talent was recognized in 1960 when he received the prestigious Padma Shri award. He won back-to-back gold medals in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, showcasing his exceptional skill set. With each game, he left an indelible mark on the history of Indian hockey, standing tall among the greatest players to represent India.

10. Dhanraj Pillay

Dhanraj Pillay

As a former captain of the national team, Dhanraj led with unshakeable commitment. Today, he continues his work off the field as a Joint Secretary for the Air India Sports Promotion Board. For over 15 years, he wowed the crowds at major tournaments, scoring approximately 170 goals. He also spent time playing for clubs overseas, enriching Indian hockey with his global experiences. He skippered the victorious Indian teams in the 1998 Asian Games and the 2003 Asia Cup, leaving an indelible mark on the sport. His tireless work in Indian hockey was honored with the prestigious Bharat Gaurav Award in 2017, proving his continued influence on the sport and the nation.


There you have it. When you learn about the journey of each of these legendary hockey players, you’ll come to the realization that each of these players had one thing in common. That is the never give up attitude they had when it comes to hockey. And that’s definitely something to be inspired by, don’t you think?


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