The Architect of Argentina’s growth - Gonzalo Peillat

Gonzalo Peillat has a strike rate of over 100 and has been the top scorer at every tournament Argentina has played in since January 2014.

A second-year student of architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, Gonzalo Peillat helped Argentina win its maiden World Cup medal last year with 10 goals.   -  Uthra Ganesan

He has a strike rate of over 100, has been the top scorer at every tournament Argentina has played in since January 2014 and with six goals in three games so far, is miles ahead of the rest of the crowd here at the Hockey World League Finals. No wonder, Gonzalo Peillat is the cynosure of all teams and the most feared man in the competition.

At 23, the baby-faced Peillat is still learning the ropes of top-level international hockey. That hasn't stopped him from perfecting those deadly drag-flicks during penalty corners – Argentina’s most lethal weapon during an attack.

Peillat has literally been the architect of the Pan-American champion's growth. A second-year student of architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, Peillat helped Argentina win its maiden World Cup medal last year with 10 goals. He also scored 14 as Argentina retained the continental title and is clearly on course to emulating his mentor and idol, Jorge Lombi.

“My mentor is Jorge Lombi, from whom I began learning when I was younger. I have learnt a lot from him and I want to be like him,” Peillat said after his team's second win in the tournament, this time against Olympic champion Germany.

Like Lombi, whom many consider the inventor of drag-flicks and one of the most feared exponents of the art, Peillat is happy to share credit with the rest of the team. “Everyone matters — the stopper, pusher. If the team wins, I am happy. If I don't score, I don't get frustrated, I know there might be another chance,” he explained.

One of the few in the team who speak fluent English, Peillat honed both his linguistic and stick skills in the Dutch league – he is the top scorer there as well. Practicing just 30 shots a day, three times a week, Peillat is far from the workaholic he appears to be.

“I think 30 shots, three times a week is enough. We also play matches continuously in the league so that is also there,” he shrugged.

The team's expectations don't weigh down the youngster either. “Sometimes we don’t get penalty corners or just one or two. I do not take any pressure while taking penalty corners because I know there are other ways of scoring also,” he added nonchalantly.