HIL has helped Indian team be competitive, says Dwyer

One of the legends of the game, Jamie Dwyer is the most capped and decorated Australian hockey player, and recognised worldwide as much for his skills as his incredible longevity. At 36, the Australian can still give his much-younger team mates a run for their money and he admits it is a huge confidence booster when he matches up to his younger rivals.

“I had said four years ago that having HIL would help Indian hockey a lot and it has. India is now better than the competition in the last three years," Dwyer feels.   -  Getty Images

One of the legends of the game, Jamie Dwyer is the most capped and decorated Australian hockey player, and recognised worldwide as much for his skills as his incredible longevity. At 36, the Australian can still give his much-younger team mates a run for their money and he admits it is a huge confidence booster when he matches up to his younger rivals.

It wasn’t a surprise when Dwyer scored the lone goal in his team’s win over Belgium in the Hockey World League on Saturday, a goal that came from almost zero angle and could well be among the best in the tournament. “To be honest, I think it got a deflection from a Belgian stick but I am happy to score,” he smiled.



I am hoping to enjoy the last 250 days playing for my country, get the most out of my body and treasure every minute of it. There is less responsibility being out of the leadership group so I am free to play my game.


Such honesty is uncommon in modern competitive sports but then again Dwyer isn’t just another sportsperson. In a country obsessed with perfection and winning in sports, he is a role model for discipline and fair play. His five ‘Player of the Year’ awards are proof of his popularity in the hockey fraternity and the team is already wondering about a Dwyer-less Australia post Rio.

Former coach Ric Charlesworth may have been following the Australian model of ruthless change by bluntly telling him he was no longer needed, immediately after leading Australia to its second successive World Cup last year, but Dwyer was in no mood to call it quits.

“Had I gone to the Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow), I might have retired then. But I had a point to prove after I was dropped. I am glad Ric retired otherwise I wouldn’t have been playing here, a country I love coming to. I have scored 27 goals in 25 matches this year so I guess that answers him and everyone else on whether I should still be in the team or not. Hopefully I will continue to be in this form and be selected for Rio,” he said.

This would be Dwyer’s last visit to India in Australian colours, and perhaps the last ever as a player – he isn’t yet decided on participating in the Hockey India League next year (he was drafted by UP Wizards). “Only because of my age. I want to be fit for Rio, that is the biggest dream for anyone,” Dwyer said.

At the same time, Dwyer is determined to enjoy his last days on the turf. “I am hoping to enjoy the last 250 days playing for my country, get the most out of my body and treasure every minute of it. There is less responsibility being out of the leadership group so I am free to play my game,” he said.

HIL, though, remains special to the man. It brought him closer to India – a country he loves so much that he named his younger son Taj – and Dwyer insists the league has helped Indian hockey become what it is today. “I had said four years ago that having HIL would help Indian hockey a lot and it has. India is now better than most teams in the last three years. Post retirement, I am looking forward to developing my business JDH, which is becoming pretty big around the world, here also. That will keep me coming to India,” he signed off.