Unmukt Chand, who led the Indian under-19 team to the Under-19 Cricket World Cup victory in 2012, has said that playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a ‘massive’ experience for him. However, he was not that lucky during his time playing in the IPL.
Unmukt Chand announced his retirement from Indian cricket on Friday (August 13). The player is now eyeing league cricket in the United States. Chand served as the skipper of the India Under-19 cricket team. He led the team in a quadrangular series that featured Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Australia, his unbeaten 122 against Sri Lanka being his best performance. He remains the first India U-19 captain to win the U-19 World Cup in Australia.
Chand, who usually opened for the team, represented Delhi in Indian domestic cricket tournaments. During the 2015-16 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season, Chand scored 276 runs at an average of 34.50 for the team. He has also represented Gujrat and is well-known for his 103 runs off 58 balls, which made him the third Indian batsman with three or more centuries in the format after Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. He has 2500 runs under his name in List A cricket.
However, it hasn’t been very fortunate for him as the player was dropped from the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2017. He also did not get a promotion to the national team.
“These last few years have been tough. But I wasn’t going to give up on cricket completely. If I wasn’t getting enough opportunities to play in India, where were the next four or five crucial years of my career going to go? I still get emotional imagining that I will never get to play for India again. But I have made some special memories while playing in India.”
“Playing the IPL was a massive experience for me, but I wasn’t very lucky during my stint in it,” Chand said on playing in the IPL.
The 28-year old made his IPL debut for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) in 2013. The following season, he was roped in by the Rajasthan Royals during the IPL 2014 auction. Hev then moved to the Mumbai Indians in the 2015 season. In his IPL career, he accumulated 300 runs in 15 games, including one half-century, which he smashed while playing for Mumbai Indians. However, ever since Brett Lee dismissed him for a golden duck in one of the IPL matches, he never got a chance to shine.
“I too dreamt of playing for India one day,” Chand said. “I did realise some of those dreams with my time at India U-19 and India A. I have been abroad for the past two months, but it doesn’t feel too different from home. I am playing with and against new people. There are plenty of Indians in the cricket system here, and the game is being taken quite seriously. Just the shade of blue is not the one I had initially dreamt of.”
Chand has signed a long-term contract with the Silicon Valley Strikers and will get started off with his journey in the Minor Cricket League in Bay Area, making his debut for the team in the match against the Socal Lashings on Saturday.
The Minor League Cricket Championship’s National T20 Tournament starts soo. It will see teams from 27 cities across the United States compete in the tournament. Over 400 players will compete in 200 matches across 26 venues.
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