The former India skipper and hockey legend is the second hockey player in the country to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Ajit Pal Singh – captain of India’s 1975 World Cup-winning team - had earlier joined the AAP.
The celebrated hockey player is expected to campaign for the party all across India. He becomes the third Indian hockey player after Dilip Tirkey and Pargat Singh to cut their teeth in politics. Dilip Tirkey was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha in 2012, while former Indian skipper Pargat Singh contested on a Shiromani Akali Dal ticket from Jalandhar Cantt in the same year.
He is the only player to have played in four Olympics (1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004), four World Cups (1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002), four Champions Trophies (1995, 1996, 2002, and 2003), and four Asian Games (1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002).
Under Pillay’s captaincy India had won the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games as well as the 2003 Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur when they got the better of arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2. He also figured in the World Eleven side during the 1994 World Cup at Sydney. Pillay also bagged the coveted Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1999-2000 – he subsequently also won the Padma Shri award in 2000.
Pillay is currently serving as the technical director of Sahara India Pariwar-owned Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the second Hero Hockey India League.