The top 5 Indian national team strikers of all time
Theodore Roosevelt said that in Life, as in Football, the principle to follow is to ‘Hit the Line Hard’. Going with that principle, bulging the net with a powerful shot or a well-placed header is a feeling which cannot be described - ask any footballer.
Football is incomplete without goal-scoring, with important components like defending and distribution to complete and compliment.
Strikers are a different breed they say, and here, we reveal it. The Indian Football team has been a sleeping giant on the football scenario and here we take a look at the flag-bearers of attacking flair for the Blue Tigers.
Let us take a look at India’s finest strikers, who’ve won it all at the club level and made the country proud at the International circuit with their exploits in front of the goal.
#5 Prasun Kumar Banerjee
The first lethal striker Indian football ever produced, PK Banerjee or PK, as he was fondly called, is regarded as one of the finest players to grace the pitch in Indian football. Born and brought up in Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, PK started his career playing for the Bihar State Football team as a right winger.
PK represented the state at an age of 15 in the Santosh trophy and moved to Bengal at the age of 18, signing for Aryan for a short stint. Soon, he moved to Eastern Railway and caught the eye of the national selectors.
PK was called onto the National Team at just 19 years of age when he was selected to play in the Quadrangular tournament in 1955. PK represented India in three Asian Cup tournaments from 1958 to 1966, winning the gold medal in the 1962 edition. PK was part of the team which took part in the 1956 Summer Olympics at Melbourne, Australia. Such was the growth of this talisman that he led the nation at the next Summer Olympics, in Rome in 1960. His equalizer against France in a 1-1 draw is one of the most important goals in Indian football history.
Recurring injuries and poor medics in the country forced the goal-scoring machine to retire at an early age of 31 in the year 1967. PK has scored 65 goals for the nNational team in just 84 appearances, at a whopping strike rate of 0.77.
Agonizingly, FIFA calculates just some of those matches as official and the tally drops down to 19 goals from 36 matches, with a strike rate of 0.53, still better than Ian Rush and Alan Shearer of international fame.
His poaching instincts and powerful presence in the box was a terrible sight for defenders. His positioning sense was praise-worthy and he was known to carry a swagger about him on and off the field.
He has been awarded the Centennial Order of Merit in 2004, which recognizes PK as India’s best footballer of the 20th Century. PK is also the only Indian to be awarded the Fair Play award by FIFA, and has been bestowed with the Arjuna Award, the highest civilian award in sports in India.
He’s also been awarded the Padma Shri in 1990, one of the highest civilian awards in India.