Top Ten Greatest Drag-flickers in Field Hockey

We take a look at the field hockey players who took the world by storm through their exceptional drag-flicking abilities and their beautiful execution.

Field Hockey in a file photo
By Abhiruchi Rout | Jan 28, 2023 | 6 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Drag flicking is a type of attacking move that primarily occurs at penalty corners and has two key parts: the scoop and flick. The method is running up and then throwing the ball around your body towards the goal post with force. Drag flicks have the tremendous force and can propel a ball at incredible speeds. The drag flick is therefore exceedingly risky and can frequently result in accidents. However, it is a sight to behold when executed perfectly. We take a look at the field hockey players who took the world by storm through their exceptional drag-flicking abilities and their beautiful execution.

Sohail Abbas (Team – Pakistan)

Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas tops the list of the best drag-flickers of all time in Field Hockey. Abbas represented his country as a fullback. He is considered one of the best players of all time and holds the record for most goals scored in international field hockey with 348 goals (315 caps), including 21 hat tricks. Popularly regarded as the ‘King of the drag flick’, he is a drag-flick expert known for his deadly flicks in front of the goal from penalty corners with excellent accuracy and speed. Abbas made his international debut in the Test series against India in February 1998 after competing for Pakistan at the junior level. He has played for Pakistan at the FIH Hockey World Cups in 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010, as well as the Summer Olympics in 2000, 2004, and 2012, alongside being the leading goal scorer in both World Cups and Olympics.

Gonzalo Peillat (Present Team – Germany, Former Team – Argentina)

One of the top field hockey defenders in the world currently is Gonzalo Peillat who represents the Germany National Team. Initially, Peillat represented Argentina; however, since obtaining German citizenship in 2022, he has been competing for Germany. On March 7, 2022, Peillat was officially listed as a German player for the first time in the 2021–2022 Pro League Series. He was later named to the German team for the 2023 Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup. Peillat contributed to his team’s bronze-medal performance at the 2014 World Cup, where he finished as the competition’s leading scorer with 10 goals. For his accomplishments, the International Hockey Federation awarded Peillat with the FIH 2014 Rising Star of the Year.

Chris Ciriello (Team – Australia)

Christopher Ciriello played for Australia in international competitions. In the Australian Hockey League, he represented the Victorian Vikings. In January 2008, he debuted for his senior national squad. He was a crucial figure in guiding Australia to gold medals at the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy in 2010, Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014, and a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in 2012. In 2014, Ciriello demonstrated why he is among the deadliest drag flickers of the game. Popularly known as the Big Dog, he scored hat tricks in both the grand finale of the World Cup and Commonwealth Games to help Australia in winning the title on both occasions. Cirello finished second in the World Cup with seven goals, while he guided the field with nine goals at the Commonwealth Games.

Blake Govers (Team – Australia)

Blake Govers represents Australia in field hockey tournaments. With seven goals, he was the joint-leading scorer in the 2018 World Cup. He scored 12 goals in 14 games for Australia to win the 2019 FIH Pro League championship. He received a nomination for the FIH Rising Star of the Year Award in December 2019. At the Tokyo Olympics 2020, he was tied second alongside Lukas Windfeder of Germany in the list of the highest number of goals in the tournament (7 goals). To date, Blake has scored 89 goals in his 103 appearances for Australia. In the ongoing Hockey World Cup 2023, Blake has collected six goals in the tournament, with one match remaining.

Rupinder Pal Singh (Team – India)

Rupinder Pal Singh is a professional field hockey player who plays as a defender for Indian Hockey Team. He is regarded as one of the top drag flickers in the world and plays as a fullback. He was a member of the Indian hockey team that took home a bronze medal from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He retired after the Olympics in 2020, but he came out of retirement in May 2022 and was slated to head the Indian team in the Asia Cup. However, he was later ruled out due to a wrist injury. The Delhi Waveriders spent a significant sum to acquire Rupinder in the Hockey India League.

Read more: Rupinder Pal Singh – India’s greatest hockey player who has achieved success everywhere

V. R. Raghunath (Team – India)

Another Indian who made it to the list is none other than V. R. Raghunath. Raghunath is a retired field-hockey professional who made 228 appearances for India in which he scored 132 goals. Raghunath was popular for his drag-flicking abilities and captained the Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Hockey India League. At the 2003 Sub-Junior Asia Cup in Dhaka, which India won, Raghunath made his international debut for his country. He replaced an injured Sandeep Singh on the national team for the bilateral series against Pakistan in 2005, marking his senior debut. He was a member of the Indian team that won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2007, silver in 2008, gold in the 2007 Asia Cup, and silver in 2013. Raghunath won the title of Player of the Tournament in 2013 after scoring six goals in the Asia Cup.

Taeke Taekema (Team – Netherlands)

Taeke Wiebe Doekes Taekema, popularly known as Taeke Taekema, was a penalty corner specialist for the Dutch field hockey team. He guided the team to winning the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. He made his debut on 28 January 2000 in a friendly match against Egypt and went on to make 242 appearances for the Dutch, scoring 221 goals. His record-breaking 16 goals, which included a double hat trick against Belgium in the 2007 Men’s EuroHockey Nations Championship semifinals, propelled him to stardom. Taekema’s initials and jersey number were put onto Adidas’ limited-edition TT10 hockey stick. Along with Luke Doerner, he had the most goals in the 2010 Men’s Hockey World Cup.

Sandeep Singh (Team – India)

The third Indian to feature in this list is Sandeep Singh. Sandeep Singh is a former Indian field hockey captain. He often played as a fullback and was a specialist at taking penalty corners. As one of the quickest drag-flick specialists in the world, he earned the nickname Flicker Singh in the media. Sandeep made his debut on the international stage in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Kuala Lumpur in January 2004. After an 8-year hiatus, the Indian men’s team earned a spot in the 2012 Summer Olympics. In the Olympic qualifying tournament’s championship game, the squad defeated France 9-1 to claim a resounding triumph. Singh excelled in the final against France, scoring five goals, which included a hat trick, all from the penalty corners. With 16 goals, Singh had the most goals scored during the Olympic qualifying competition.

Alexander Hendrickx (Team – Belgium)

Alexander Robby Hendrickx is a field hockey player from Belgium. Hendrickx won the best goal scorer award in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with 14 goals. In 2018, he played a crucial role in Belgium’s first World Cup victory and an Olympic gold medal in Field Hockey in Tokyo 2020. He had three goals in the opening match of the Olympics, where they defeated The Netherlands 4-1. He scored a hat-trick again against South Africa. He was severely hurt after he received a stick to the face in the last group match against Great Britain. He recovered and used a protective headband for the knockout rounds. He has been ruled out of the 2023 Hockey World Cup owing to an injury sustained when facing Japan in the final match of Pool B.