01 December, 2020

Mercurial Raider

Late-bloomer Dhanraj Pillay leads India's charge into the hockey big league

Mercurial Raider
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
He's not as fast as a speeding bullet, neither does he have the anarchy of a runaway train. But as Dhanraj Pillay weaves his black magic on the ground, he has suddenly emerged as world hockey's new Superman. It's about time. The pony-tailed hero of the Indian team has been around since 1989. But it was only at Madras last December, after the South Asian Federation Games match against Pakistan which decided the gold in India's favour, that Pillay achieved super-stardom. The headlong dive to deflect a centre from right-winger Mukesh Kumar into goal catapulted him into the public's imagination and esteem. The flash and the dash on the field have all lent colour to his personality. And in the year of the Atlanta Olympics, he's India's best bet for their first medal since the boycott-aided gold in Moscow in 1980.

Pillay is now one of the most marked men in hockey. His every stride, dribble, even body language have come under increasing scrutiny. In short, he is never left free on the pitch. Perhaps, such attention in itself is a compliment to a player though it would mean...

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