Sunday, Aug 07, 2022
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Hockey

Grit And Glory

The Indian juggernaut rolls on, now with a rare win over Pakistan More Coverage

Grit And Glory
AP
Grit And Glory
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Yet, the arch-rivals share an amazing relationship off the hockey field. Dhanraj Pillay, 35, considers Sohail Abbas as one of his good friends, but once they take the field they are bitter rivals for those 70 minutes. Former India captain Pargat Singh and Pillay still rate India's 5-2 win over Pakistan at the 1995 South Asian Games as one of the high points of their career. Pillay can now add one more to the list after Wednesday's 3-2 win over Pakistan in the Champions Trophy, Cologne, Germany. The veteran centre-forward played one of his finest matches, and also sent a message to the Indian Hockey Federation mandarins that at 35 he's still the best in the business, notwithstanding youthful stars like Jugraj Singh and Prabhjot Singh from the junior World Cup-winning team.

The temperamental Pillay, captain of the winning Indian team at the 1998 Asiad, has been humiliated in the past. He was forced to eat humble pie by a careless officialdom, which did not bat an eyelid before rapping him on the knuckles for demanding a better deal for himself and fellow players. He was "rested" within weeks of leading the team to a gold medal and then forced to sit out. That he was eventually taken back into the team fold is a testimony to his talent and fighting spirit.

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