Unmukt Chand, India’s 2012 Under-19 World Cup-winning captain, on Friday announced retirement from all forms of the game at the age of 28. Unmukt posted an emotional letter on Twitter saying he is open to ‘better opportunities around the world’.
“I don’t know how I should be feeling cause honestly, I am still figuring it out. The very thought of not being able to represent my country again literally stops my heartbeat for a while.” Unmukt Chand wrote in a Twitter post
“Personally there have been quite a few glorious moments in my cricketing journey in India. Winning the U-19 World cup for India is one of the biggest moments of my life. It was a special feeling to lift the cup as a captain and bring smiles to so many Indians across the world. I can never forget that feeling. Also, leading India A on numerous occasions and winning various bilateral and tri-series are etched in my memory forever.”
U-19 World Cup 2012 and domestic career
Unmukt Chand’s biggest moment of his career came when he lifted the U-19 World Cup Trophy in 2012. He scored an unbeaten knock of 111 in the final of the tournament against Australia and helped India to pull off the victory. Chand was awarded Man of the Match for his heroics performance. In fact, he even earned high praise from Australian great Ian Chappell for his stellar innings in the finals.
Cricket is a universal game and even though the means might change, the end goal is still the same – to play cricket at the highest level.
Despite his heroics at the U-19 level, Chand couldn’t represent India at the international level. Although he scored some big knocks in domestic cricket, but couldn’t produce the same performance consistently. Chand made his Ranji Trophy debut for Delhi in the 2010-11 season. In his very fourth game, he smashed 151 runs on a seaming track against Railways.
Followed by this, he also scored two half-centuries against Mumbai and Saurashtra in the same year. In 2012, in the ACC Under-19s Asia Cup, Chand was the highest run-getter in the tournament with 286 runs from 3 matches. He led India to the victory by scoring a hundred in the finals against Pakistan.
“Things have not been as smooth in the last few years and opportunities have been denied. Though a part of me is not at peace with the way things have unfolded in the last few years, I still choose to see the silver lining and with fond memories bid adieu to BCCI and seek better opportunities around the world.” Chand wrote
Overall, Chand played 67 first-class games, scoring 3379 runs at an average of 31.57. In List A cricket, he scored 4505 runs at an average of 41.33 in 120 matches. And in the T20s, he had a healthy strike rate of 116.09 with 1565 runs in 77 games.
Chand then made his IPL debut at the age of 18, but couldn’t make his mark in the first few matches and was dropped from the side. He represented three teams in IPL – Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians. He played 21 IPL matches and scored 300 runs at an average of 15.00 including a solitary fifty against RCB.
India A tours
Chand became a regular for India A and also captained the side till 2015. He led the team to victories against New Zealand A in 2013 and Bangladesh A in 2015. He was also added to the 30-member squad for the 2013 Champions Trophy and the 2014 T20 World Cup but couldn’t earn an India call. In 2019, Chand moved to Uttarakhand to play professional cricket. But, he couldn’t make it big there too. In seven matches, he scored just 195 runs at an average of 13.92.
Unmukt Chand signs multi-year contract with Major Cricket League
Unmukt Chand has signed a deal with Silicon Valley Strikers for the 2021 season of the Minor League Cricket (MLC) in the USA. He will make his debut against the Socal Lashings in a Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship on Saturday. According to the Major Cricket League’s website, Chand has signed a multi-year agreement with Major League Cricket to support the development of the game in the United States by playing with and mentoring the next generation of American cricketers.
“I’m delighted to take the next step in my cricket career by being part of the long-term growth of American cricket and the launch of Major League Cricket. I’m excited to have the opportunity to play for the Strikers in Minor League Cricket starting this weekend. And help grow the sport locally in the Bay Area, where I have already seen the impressive passion for the game of cricket,” said Chand