My trip is very different from Virat Kohli's, says Unmukt Chand as he leaves Delhi for Uttarakhand.
NEW DELHI: Winning Captain of the 2012 U19 World Cup Unmukt Chand will be the captain of the Uttarakhand team in the Ranji Trophy this season. The elegant right-handed hitter has obtained the Certificate of No Objection (NOC) required from the Delhi Association.
Unmukt represented Delhi for the last time in 2017.
After getting his NOC, Chand spoke with Timesofindia.com about his trip with Delhi, memories of the U19 World Cup victory, his new Uttarakhand team and his dreams in India.
What was the biggest reason why you decided to leave Delhi and play for Uttarakhand?
Well, I was not getting any opportunity in Delhi team. There were so many reasons. They were dropping me regularly. Three years back I led the India A team. Just after that series, they dropped me from Delhi’s one-day squad. I wanted to move last year only but couldn’t take the decision. It took me some time to take this decision. It’s hard to leave the place where you started. When I didn’t get a single game last year in the Ranji Trophy , I was pretty sure that now it’s time to go and look for a team where I can play matches. I didn’t want to sit and see others play. That’s why I decided to move on and chose Uttarakhand.
You have played 60 first class games for Delhi. How would you summarize the entire trip?
Whatever it is today, it's because of the cricket I've played for Delhi. This is the place where I started and got recognition. Playing for Delhi was something very big for me and I am proud of it. It has been a great trip so far and emotional also because this is where I learned everything. Playing on several levels, India U19, India A, all this happened due to Delhi.
Are you excited to captain Uttarakhand?
It is a different kind of challenge all together. So far, I have led experienced sides: India A, India U19 and Delhi. This is a different challenge because it is a new side. The boys (in the Uttarakhand team) have done very well. They have a good talent. I am sure it will be a good and exciting journey. I am really looking forward to it. Rather than acting, I think it's the right time to use my experience on my new trip. The most important thing about this team is that they have faith. I want to contribute as much as possible when large teams like Delhi and Mumbai play. I am sure that Uttarakhand will be one of the strong sides in domestic cricket in the coming years.
What was your reaction when you were removed from the state team in Delhi? Was it the most difficult time for you in your cricket race so far?
In a way it was disappointing because I never expected them to drop me like that. I was expelled from the side of Delhi in 2016. I was expelled from the one-day team in Delhi after performing well as captain of India A. That was quite shocking to me. I didn't expect those things to happen to me. Obviously it was not a good feeling to work hard and not get the fees. But these things taught me a lot. It makes you a strong character in life. It was an experience for me and will help me in the coming years.
You are only 26 years old. In addition to you, the other three captains of India winners of the U19 World Cup (2000 - Mohammad Kaif, 2008- virat Kohli and 2018 - Prithvi Shaw ) have played for the senior team of India. Do you still feel that you can reach the greater Indian side?
It has been seven years since the victory of the U19 World Cup. Many things changed after that. That was a very special moment for me. I was lucky to lead the Indian team in a great tournament and led them to win the title. That moment will always stay in the heart. It will be the first on my list. The feeling was incredible. But it's time to move on. I want to play and play for my country. Of course, I'm only 26 years old. I am in the best form and I am sure that I will (I will play for the elderly in India). That is my last dream. The rest depends on God. Sometimes it takes time and sometimes it happens so fast. Do not compare your trip with someone else's. Some people understand it as early as Virat (Kohli) and Prithvi (Shaw) have it. My trip is very different. I want to live my own trip. I want to make my own way and name. That is all. That is the dream (which represents India). I am working hard to achieve it and I am sure that I will arrive soon.
Have you ever contacted someone from the top management of the India team and expressed your desire to play in the high-ranking team?
Everyone in the country wants to play for the country. I have friends. I am in contact with Shikhar (Dhawan). He is a good friend of mine. We continue to discuss cricket and how to improve yourself as a cricket player. I am in contact with some older people who give advice and suggestions. We speak only of cricket.
Great australian Ian Chappell He once said that you are ready for international cricket. Can you point out exactly what has prevented you from converting great potential into consistent performances?
There is a lot at stake when you represent the country. It takes a lot to represent the country. There are so many factors. What is the demand of the equipment and what does the equipment want in its equipment? All these things play an important role. I might not have fit in at that time. There are players who will score few races, but they will continue to play for the country and there are players who score thousands of races in a year, but do not yet have the opportunity. My job is to perform and wait for the opportunity. My job is to be consistent and keep scoring careers. When things go my way, India (India senior team debut) will also happen. My time is yet to come.
Two players from the 2012 U-19 World Cup winning team have already represented India: Hanuma Vihari and Sandeep Sharma. What is your opinion about Hanuma as a future perspective in Test Cricket?
He is doing really well. He is scoring careers so consistently. First, he scored careers in domestic cricket and now he is also doing it for the country. I am really happy and proud of the way he is playing. He is a very good player. It feels good when you see your own boys well and you receive compliments from all corners. I am sure he will go a long way and will play for a long time for India.
You last played in the IPL in 2016. Are you still hoping to get an IPL 2020 contract?
Yes, obviously. If I get a contract, I will accept it. That is not something that worries me. If I perform well, things will go my way. For now, I am chasing my dreams.
Suddenly there is a lot of attention when you win a World Cup, even at the U19 level. How difficult is it for you to stay level and focused on the future after a great victory like that?
It was so overwhelming when we got the cup. We receive a lot of love from our fans. I love to play, not by flattery; I play because I love this sport. I am passionate I want to play and win games for my country. You need to love what you do. I love to play and will continue to do so.
What is Unmukt Chand focused on the most right now - What lies in the immediate future or is there a larger goal that you are determined to work towards?
For now, the main focus will be to play for Uttarakhand. It will be a different role for me. I have to play and guide other players too. I am sure they will do well. I am happy to go there because my roots are from there. I am happy to return to my roots. I will start my new trip from there.