Dhanraj Pillay was born on 16th July, 1968. He is now a retired Indian Field Hockey player, former captain of the Indian National Hockey Team and is currently the manager of the team. As a player, Dhanraj Pillay has been India’s best player ever.
He was born in Khadki, a place near Pune. He is the fourth son of the family and lived in Mumbai to build his career in Hockey with the guidance of his elder brother, Ramesh, who already was a player for RCF in the Mumbai League. His brother had also played in international matches which worked out as a plus point for Dhanraj Pillay.
- He became a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Indian Hockey Federation, which formed after Kanwar Pal Singh Gill was suspended.
- He made his debut with the National Team in 1989 after which he represented India in the Allwyn Asia Cup in New Delhi, 1991.
- He is the first person to participate for India in four World Cups (1990,1994,1998,2002), four Olympic Games (1992,1996,2000,2004), four Champions Trophies (1995,1996.2002,2003) and four Asian Games (1990,1994,1998,2002) under his captaincy.
- He has played around 339 matches for the national team and is known to have scored around 170 goals in his career. His records are not confirmed because the Indian Hockey Federation kept no records/statistics for the goals scored. There are also no records of the number of international goals scored by Dhanraj.
- He has played in different clubs in countries like France (HC Lyon), Malaysia (Telekom Malaysia HC), Germany (HTC Stuttgart Kickers) and England (Indian Gymkhana).
- He was the Highest Goalscorer in the Bangkok Asian Games.
- He was the only Indian player to figure in the World Eleven during the 1994 World Cup held in Sydney.
- He has played in the Premier Hockey League for Maratha Warriors for 2 seasons, Karnataka Lions in the World Series Hockey, Indian Airlines in Beighton Cup.
- He is currently the coach for the Indian Airlines Hockey Team.
- He was honored with the Padma Shri in 2000 by the Government of India.
- He received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for 1999 and 2000.
- In his captaincy, the Indian Hockey Team won Gold in the 1998 Asian Games and 2003 Asia Cup.
- He was awarded player of the tournament award in 2002 Champions Trophy held in Germany.
- He is now trying to start a hockey academy in Mumbai for which he is raising funds by collecting empty plastic printer cartridges and selling them to a European recycling firm and the Mumbai Hockey Association has refused to allow Astroturf Facility to be used for training.
- He also has his biography, ‘Forgive Me Amma’, which is written by Sundeep Misra, a journalist who tracked his career for two decades and released this book in 2007.