In 2012 and 2013 the boy could do no wrong. In 2020 the man is nowhere to be seen. So what happened to Unmukt Chand? The talented cricketer had become a sensation while still in his teens and achieved milestones that are still being talked about. He brought home the Under 19 World Cup for India with his sterling performances on the field in Australia. Today nobody talks about him. Has Unmukt Chand, the boy wonder, become a distant memory in such a short time in the cricket crazy country that once loved him without limits?
Where is Unmukt Chand?
Today Unmukt Chand plays for his team Uttarakhand in domestic cricket and is all set to take over the captaincy from his teammate Rajat Bhatia. Though Chand is as talented a cricket player today as he ever was people are wondering why he is not playing for the Indian national team. Why is a talented player like him spending his time in domestic cricket when he could well have been in India’s national team? The one unsatisfying answer that most people have come up with is that his Lady Luck has deserted him!
A Star is Born
Unmukt Chand’s career hit the peak a bit early. Chand led the Indian Under-19 cricket team to victory in the U-19 Cricket World Cup in Australia in 2012. He led from the front by hitting an unbeaten 111 runs in the final against Australia in Townsville. He impressed the whole cricketing world with his prowess and a great cricketer of the stature of Ian Chappell was singing praises of him. Chand’s future was right ahead of him and it looked that the new star of Indian cricket had arrived in swashbuckling style. Then what went wrong?
The Irresistible Lure of the IPL
Some say that the lure of IPL destroyed him. They say that a talented cricketer like him should have focused on the longer version of the game and built his career with the ambition and desire to don India’s national colours in five-day tests. Whatever may be the reason Chand could not resist the temptation to play in IPL. He made his debut in 2011 playing for the Delhi Daredevils and played in 2012 also. However, his performances were nowhere near what they had been when he was playing Under 19 cricket.
Hero Takes a Fall
His last season for IPL was in 2015 when he was picked up by Mumbai Indians. However his performances were not up to the mark and he spent most of his time sitting on the bench. His glory days seemed to be over. People found it hard to believe that the boy who had won prestigious awards like “Castrol Junior Cricketer of the Year” for 2011-2012 and “CEAT Indian Youngster of the Year” 2012 was giving such lackluster performances.
Tomorrow Never Knows!
Despite having played so much of cricket Unmukt Chand’s age is just 26 years so it would be a big mistake and arrogance as well to write him off. The man who created magic with both his batting and bowling all those years ago could well make a spectacular comeback. If he does it the whole country would cheer him and all his critics would be running about with their tail between their legs. The boy wonder who gave so much joy to the patrons of this great game could well be the star of tomorrow. Like they say, you never know when Lady Luck smiles on you!