Who are India’s top 10 highest goalscorers in men’s hockey?

Samad Haque

May 26 2023
Indian Hockey

These players have scored multiple goals for India.

The sport of hockey is widely followed in India. In recent times, the fanbase of Indian hockey and its players has only increased, not just nationally but internationally as well. It’s mainly because of the goalscoring prowess of Indian forwards. Since time immemorial, Indian forwards have been rated highly because of their finishing prowess. 

Here is a countdown of India’s top 10 highest goal scorers in men’s hockey:

10. Akashdeep Singh (86)

A child prodigy, Akashdeep made his senior international debut in 2012. He trained in cities like Jalandhar and Ludhiana in his initial days. An out-and-out forward, he is relied on by his teammates to capitalize on potential goalscoring opportunities.

Akashdeep is a mature individual and he has captained the youth India hockey sides. He was part of the 2016 Rio Olympics team. He also won the Player of the Tournament award at the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy.

9. Mandeep Singh (98)

The 27-year-old Mandeep has been a mainstay in the Indian men’s hockey team since 2013. He has scored 98 goals in 202 international appearances. He is feared by opponents for his nimble footwork and the deft touches he provides to long strikes from his midfield teammates.

Mandeep scored one goal during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He played a crucial role in India’s success in Tokyo, as the Men In Blue went on to win an Olympic medal after 41 years. He was also part of the Indian team that won silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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8. Gagan Ajit Singh (108)

A forward, Gagan Ajit Singh scored over 108 goals in 157 appearances for India. His illustrious career spanned 10 years (1997-2007). He belongs to a hockey family and his father and uncle both represented India at the Olympics. 

Gagan was the captain of the Indian national U-21 team that won the 2001 Junior World Cup. At the 2004 Summer Olympics, he top scored for India with seven goals and was part of the 2001 Champions Challenge and the 2003 Asia Cup triumphs, both held in Kuala Lumpur.

7. Rupinder Pal Singh (125)

Ruper Pal Singh is known as one of the best drag-flickers in the world. He earned three gold medals at the 2011 and 2016 Asian Champions Trophy and at the 2014 Asian Games. He scored four goals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Rupinder top scored at the 2011 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and scored his first international hat-trick against Great Britain in the same tournament. He debuted for India at the 2010 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where the team emerged as champions.

6. V.R. Raghunath (132)

V.R. Raghunath played as a full-back and his abilities as a drag-flicker made headlines. He recorded 132 goals in 228 matches for India. Raghunath made his debut in 2005 and drew curtains on his successful career in 2017.

He was part of the 2007 Asia Cup and 2014 Asian Games triumphs. The player also won two silver medals at the 2008 and 2013 Asia Cups, and a bronze at the 2007 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Raghunath was awarded the Player of the Tournament for scoring six goals at the 2013 Asia Cup.

5. Harmanpreet Singh (134)

The best drag-flicker of the young brigade, Harmanpreet top-scored for India at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with six goals. Overall, he has currently scored 134 career goals in 172 international appearances. With great proficiency, he doubles up as a defender too.

The FIH Player of the Year for the year 2020-21, Harmanpreet was awarded the Man of the Tournament award as he scored nine goals as a drag-flicker at the 2014 Sultan of Johor Cup, where the Indian team won the tournament. He was also a part of the 2016 Junior Asia Cup and Junior World Cup triumphs.

4. Sandeep Singh (138)

Sandeep Singh generally played as a full-back and penalty-corner specialist for the Indian hockey team. He is nicknamed “Flicker Singh” for his specialized drag-flick speed (145 km/h), one of the quickest in the game. He led his team to the title at the 2009 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after 13 years, becoming the top goalscorer of the tournament.

Sandeep scored five goals in the finals of the Olympic Qualifiers, which included a hat-trick from penalty-corners. He was also part of the 2010 Commonwealth Games campaign, when the team won silver in New Delhi.

3. Dhanraj Pillay (170)

In a career spanning over 15 years, he played 339 matches for the national team and scored 170 goals. His class and calibre have been acknowledged by one and all. He was awarded the “Padma Shri” award in 2000. He led India to victory at the Asia Games (1998) and Asia Cup (2003). 

Pillay is the only player to feature in four Olympics (1992-2004), four World Cups (1990-2002), four Asian Games (1990-2002) and four Champions Trophy (1995, 1996, 2002, 2003). Currently, he is the joint secretary of the Air India Sports Promotion Board.

2. Balbir Singh Sr. (246)

A three-time Olympic gold medalist, he is regarded as the greatest centre-forward seen in field hockey. He hit the back of the net 246 times during his 61 international appearances from 1947–1958.

His record of five goals, the most goals scored by an individual in an Olympic men’s hockey final, still stands. He is regarded as the example “of human strength and endeavour, of passion, determination, hard work and achievement and demonstrates the values of the Olympic Movement”.

1. Major Dhyan Chand (570)

With a career spanning over two decades, Major Dhyan Chand was an extraordinary player. He recorded 570 career goals as a centre-forward and his exemplary ball control earned him the nickname “The Wizard.” Chand played primarily in the pre-Independence era (1926–1949)

He won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, as India dominated field hockey winning seven out of eight Olympic Hockey editions from 1928-1964. The country has named its highest award for lifetime achievement in sports – the “Dhyan Chand Award” and his birthday 29th August is celebrated as National Sports Day.

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