By Khurram Habib
New Delhi, August 19 (IANS) Batsman Unmuked Chand, who broke into the spotlight after leading India to a 19-year-old victory at the 2012 World Cup and was anointed as the next superstar, has had a roller coaster career in India that prevented him from joining the senior India team, which he expected due to his talent.
To fulfill his dream of playing senior international cricket and also playing T20 leagues around the world, the 28-year-old BCCI stopped cricket and has since moved to the United States, where he has already started playing Minor League Cricket (MiLC). .
MLC is a springboard to Major League Cricket (MLC), which begins in 2023, and the U.S. national team, to which he will be eligible for the next three years. Chand spoke to IANS about his career in India and plans for the future …
Q: How do you look back on your career in India?
A: I have had a very good trip in India. Plays through the ranks and comes up from under-15, under-17, under-19 days to the Ranji Trophy, Indian Premier League, India A, during 19 World Cup. I mean it has been a great journey. I loved it. When I started playing cricket, I had never imagined that the journey would unfold as it did. Very lucky to have lived brilliant moments along with down moments, which are actually part of a career for any cricketer. Lucky to live this life that I had never dreamed of. I am very happy to have spent so much time in India where I was until three months ago. I just know nothing but to play cricket. Very lucky and grateful to win laurels for myself and for the teams I played in India and mark a small mark in Indian cricket. I’m now looking at things in the United States.
Q: When you returned from the World Cup in 2012, did you expect to play for India soon?
A well. It is, of course, a dream for everyone to play for the country. Any cricketer under the age of 19 would like to play for the country. That is the goal and the goal. It has been very difficult [for me]. I was very close to it so many times. And somehow it just did not happen. There were also lots of permutations and combinations that know, you know. Many things were going on. Luck plays a big role in cricket. We all know that. You expect to play for the country. You work for it. But things go the way they are meant to, and not the way we plan them. I am at peace with how my journey has been. Absolutely lots of learning. Cricket has made me the person I am today. It would not have been possible if the journey had been different. ‘the hat was God’s plan. So it is clear that I do not regret.
Q: Do you think a small opportunity with Indian seniors could have made a difference?
A: Looking back on the trip, you definitely feel that if you were on a tour, or if you had rubbed shoulders with older men, then things would have been different. But you will not again and again think about whether this would have happened or it would have happened. It is better to live in reality. We can all think of so many things. At the end of the day I will not go there.
Q: Do you think that playing on Roshanara Club grounds (which had grassy, seam-friendly courses and conditions) so early in your career did not allow you to develop confidence in free-play?
A: Well, it can be. Because playing at Roshanara for the first few years, the matches ended in 2-3 days. The focus was always on winning matches [and dismiss opposition on seam-friendly pitches to get full points]. It’s clear that batsmen d’d are suffering. It was not so easy to score races. If you look at Delhi’s premier seasons over the last couple of years, except when Rishabh scored a thousand runs (972), which were mostly in neutral venues, the batsmen struggled to score 500-600 runs throughout the season. I think it has a lot to do with wickets. Of course we tried to take direct wins, which was a good idea, but when you go for it, it’s not easy for the batsmen. Seats with heavy grass keep you from playing shots [freely]. Your natural instincts disappear. And if you do not appear in 2-3 matches, your mindset will change. You stop playing punches a bit after you feel it is not easy. Getting out early in a few matches when the pitches are difficult makes you want to keep going as much as possible and then it also plays into your mind.
Q: How do you look forward to your career in the United States?
A: Well, I’m really optimistic about my career move to the US. It is a fantastic place. I do not feel different. There are so many Indians around. I mean so many Indians, I can not even tell you that. It just feels like you’re playing for the Indians in the United States. The amount of talent in the country is huge. We have so many Indians, so many West Indians, so many players from the subcontinent here. So many players have come here. So it’s really competitive. Work must be done on the structure. These guys are working on it. I’m sure American cricket will flourish in the next few years and you know you’re close to playing with the best nations in the world and also doing significantly well. The hopes are really high. For a few years, players who have switched as Corey [Anderson], Sami [Aslam], and others, after serving their three-year term, will be part of the U.S. setup. I will also be eligible in three years. It looks like a good page. Hopefully we can all keep up with developments. Major league coming next year, it is definitely a boost to USA cricket.
Q: Do you think more Indian cricketers are moving to the US?
A: There is already such a large influx of players. If you look at the United States, so many players from all over the world come in. I can not say about the Indian players, but there are players coming from all over the world right now.
Q: How much have you prepared for Major League Cricket and the ongoing Minor League Cricket?
A: There is a lot of time for Major League Cricket. Next year you may have an exhibition as a series. From 2023, they will be doing an entire major league tournament. Minor League Cricket has already started. Early days for me. So of course a lot of things have happened with settling down, switching, new team and all that stuff. I’m just calming down and the team is fine.
Q: Do you want to stay connected with cricket in India?
A: I am here but I am connected to India. Today, cricket has become so global. In fact, the world has come so close that you do not feel like you are anywhere else. I am so well connected with India that it still does not feel to me that I have left Indian cricket. It just feels the same. It also has a lot to do with the fact that there are so many Indians in the United States. It’s so crowded with Indians that I do not feel I am away from the country. And play among them and be around them. The world has become a very global place.
But it does not make much difference whether you are here or there. It’s about being the best, being professional. No matter which team you play, especially with leagues coming up, it’s all about being professional. It’s about doing the best for any team you play for. So yes, I look forward to it and look at leagues around the world and Minor League, Major League and American cricket in the next few years.
kh / bsk