Unmukt Chand, the former Under 19 captain celebrates his 23rd birthday today. At a young age of 23, the boy has already tasted much success and has also seen many ups and downs in his career. He came into limelight when the Indian team won the under 19 world cup under his captaincy. Chand led the team from the front and scored a much needed century in the final of the world cup.
His century earned him Man of the Match award. It was the second consecutive time that he scored a century in the final match of a tournament. He continued his habit of scoring century in the final matches as he again scored a ton in final of Vijay Hazare Trophy, but Indian bowler Jaydev Unadkat finally broke his streak as he dismissed him on the score of 88 in the final of Deodhar Trophy.
While playing for India under 19, he showed immense patience and maturity. He was never reluctant to go after a bowler and hit him huge out of the park. He was surely walking ahead in his life and was doing exactly what it was needed to play for India. His good form also earned him a place in India A squad which toured New Zealand. That was his first stint at the biggest stage. Though he had already played IPL in 2011 at a young age of 18 but he failed miserly there. He had a satisfying tour to New Zealand as he scored 123 runs in 4 innings.
He had a good 2012-13 domestic season and riding on his good form he was selected in the list top 30 players for Champions Trophy. Unmukt could not make the final cut but surely it was a good confidence booster for him. But after that, something went wrong as Unmukt has lost his consistency. Despite being given many chances by his BCCI he hasn’t capitalised on that chances. Last year India A matches were surely the first time that he enjoyed success playing for India A.
Before world cup 2015, BCCI decided to organise Vijay Hazare trophy before the Ranji trophy so as to select the best team for the world cup. Unmukt failed in that tournament as he could only score 113 runs in 5 innings. Despite his failure his teammates Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag made a big sacrifice as they decided not to play Deodhar trophy so that Unmukt and Manan Vohra could get their chances.
Chand scored six and Vohra was dismissed on duck in that tournament. They both failed and could not make that opportunity count. It’s important for any cricketer to score heavily in these tournaments as we have seen players like KL Rahul and Karun Nair getting Indian call up riding on heavy scoring in these tournaments.
Sandeep Sharma, his teammate at Under 19 world cup has already donned a national jersey, Sanju Samson and Kuldeep Yadav who played under 19 world cup after him too have made it into Indian team but he hasn’t been able to fulfil his dream. Pawan Negi who hasn’t got many chances has also made it to Indian squad and surely this fact is somewhere leading to discomfort in his mind.
To make it into Indian team he has to be consistent and has to take inspiration from his fellow players like Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Parwinder Awana. Nowadays he has become regular wicketkeeper for Delhi, surely if he performs consistently in domestic cricket than he may be fast tracked to play for India as Dhoni may retire next year and we do not have any ready replacement for him in domestic cricket. So his wicket keeping skills is a big boon for him.
Unmukt is not just a cricketer, he is an inspiring writer too as he had already written a book on his life titled “Sky Is the Limit”. He concentrates equally on academics along with cricket as few years ago he missed Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy to prepare for exams and in this season too he missed a match because he had an exam on the same day.
Unmukt is still a young cricketer and surely selectors have an eye on him. He just needs to be more consistent but if he fails to do that than he may be next Shikhar Dhawan to get a late entry in the Indian team after missing the glorious years.