Unmukt Chand, a former India U-19 captain, became the first Indian male cricketer to be signed by Australia’s Big Bash League.
He is set to represent the Aaron Finch-led Melbourne Renegades, the franchise confirmed on Thursday. The 28-year-old Delhi cricketer never played at the senior international level but had played for India A and captained India Under-19 in the 2012 World Cup. He scored a century in the final against Australia that featured the likes of Travis Head and Ashton Turner.
Unmukt Chand Excited To Be Part Of Melbourne Renegades
Earlier in the month of August, Unmukt Chand drew curtains on his Indian cricketing career, stating that he would like to explore more opportunities ‘across the world’. He had also represented the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), Mumbai Indians, and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and played 67 first-class matches in the domestic circuit. Therefore, Unmukt Chand was delighted to be a part of the BBL.
He said, “I’m very excited, it’s great to be part of the Melbourne Renegades family. I’ve always followed the Big Bash and it’s a great opportunity for me to come and play some good cricket.”
“I’m really looking forward to coming to Melbourne and to get going. I’ve always enjoyed playing in Australia. I haven’t been to Melbourne before… I know for a fact there are lots of Indians in Melbourne, so it’s going to be nice, and I hope the crowds turn up for games as well,” he added.
Unmukt Chand has signed on to play the upcoming Big Bash League season for the Melbourne Renegades. The 28-year-old becomes the first Indian to play in the tournament, though a number of Indian women have been part of the Women’s Big Bash League over the years. A top-order batter, Unmukt Chand hit a match-winning century in the final of the Under-19 World Cup in 2012 against Australia and was fast-tracked within a year to India A captaincy.
However, a massive dip in form that led to dwindling returns didn’t help nail down a permanent position, both at the IPL and with his state team, Delhi.
Unmukt Chand Is Currently Based In The USA And Was The Player Of The Minor Cricket League Tournament
Unmukt Chand is currently based in the United States. He represented the Silicon Valley Strikers and was named the player of the tournament as his team won the Minor League Cricket title in September. He will travel to Australia later this month and be available for the duration of the tournament.
“It’s great to have Unmukt on board and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do as a Renegade. He makes history as the first Indian player in the BBL, which is exciting for our club, our fans and the competition,” General Manager, James Rosengarten, said.
“We believe we’re assembling a well-rounded group, with a nice mix of experience and exciting, young talent. Our list is close to finalised, but we look forward to sharing some more exciting news with our fans in the run to the season.”
He began his Minor League career in America by leading his team Silicon Valley to the title. In all, he has played 77 T20s since making his debut in 2010 and has an average of 22.35 and a strike rate of 116.09. In Melbourne Renegades BBL squad, apart from skipper Aaron Finch, who is also Australia’s limited-overs skipper, and Unmukt Chand, Marcus Harris, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Kane Richardson are in the list.
Melbourne Renegades BBL Squad: Aaron Finch (C), Cameron Boyce, Unmukt Chand, Zak Evans, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Nic Maddinson, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitchell Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Reece Topley