Cricket is worshipped like a religion in India. It has inspired many young boys and girls to pad up and face the balls. Earning one’s own official jersey night before the match and the Indian emblem embossed cap from stalwarts of cricket has always been a dream of every budding cricketer, who makes it from a small town.
With the same dream, this 28-year-old cricketer from Delhi scored 499 runs during his first stint with the Delhi U-19 team. Unmukt Chand scored 2 centuries and 1 half-century in the innings. The big-match player was named as the captain of the India Under19 Cricket team for the match in Vishakapatnam. The young captain had a successful run of scoring 336 runs in total and also held the reign for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The warrior also took the pen in his hands and wrote a recollection of his Under 19 days in his book The Sky is the Limit in 2013. The ‘Wall of Cricket’ Rahul Dravid, ‘Very Very Special’ VVS Laxman and Sanjay Manjrekar wrote the foreword of the book.
The young cricketer with so many accolades in his bag dropped a bombshell about his retirement last month. It was a real shocker for everyone in the cricket fraternity as well as cricket fanatics. The one question that keeps ringing in our minds is, “Why did he retire?. He clears the air by saying that retirement will help him choose different arenas of tournaments. The ICC rules abide by it and Unmukt has taken this chance to give him more space and explore himself.
Unmukt added that spending a period of ten months in the US for the next three months will help him grab a ‘USA’ cap of playing for the nation. The cricketer says he will be able to play for different cricket leagues around the world and not just the Indian Premier League. This will also give him the added benefit of taking a break of two months per year. He also provides a wish list of the leagues that he wants to play in the future.
Chand’s role in the last season of playing with Delhi has made him take this huge decision. Perhaps his spell of carrying drinks and water had pushed him to think that he deserves better. Saying ‘NO’ to things is a part of setting healthy boundaries for one’s self. Chand has taken it seriously and made this huge career shift as his long-term goal. Signing the three-year deal with USA’s Major League Cricket would have been a bittersweet moment for the cricketer.
His note on Twitter said “the very thought of not being able to represent my country again literally stops my heartbeat for a while.” Fond memories of playing with the bee-buzzing noise of the Indian audience and chill down the spine moment while the Indian National Anthem is played will no longer be felt by Chand.
The magic always lies beyond our comfort zones. As ardent fans of cricket, irrespective of the league he represents we wish him many more centuries in his bag. Time has to answer whether he will make it to the USA team.