New Delhi: People plan a lot in life, but destiny sometimes takes a different turn. India U-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand’s story has been no different.
Drafted into the Delhi Daredevils outfit after an impressive debut season in the Ranji Trophy in 2010, Unmukt was yorked by Mumbai Indians’ Lasith Malinga for a duck.
Critics didn’t take a second to declare him unfit for the top level, yet on Saturday when other batsmen found the going tough at Centurion, he hit a whirlwind 40 off 27 balls to help Daredevils post a substantial score in their CLT20 encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Ankit Bawne was the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s original choice to lead the U-19 squad in the 2012 U-19 World Cup in Australia, but he turned out to be overage and Unmukt was named skipper. As luck would have it, after a not-so-impressive outing right through the tournament, India rode on Unmukt’s century in the final to lift the trophy.
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The Delhi lad feels destiny and hard work go hand in hand and one shouldn’t be complacent.
“The last 12 months have been really good for me, but I don’t believe in resting on my laurels. I have been working extremely hard. The World Cup win has taught me the importance of hard work and increased my hunger."
“The urge to excel and go that one step extra is what drives me. Satisfaction brings saturation and that shouldn’t be the case,” he told MAIL TODAY from South Africa.
Everyone wanted a piece of Unmukt when he returned from the World Cup in Australia and the opener says that while he enjoyed the limelight for a while, sweating it out on the field was what made him most comfortable.
“I was lucky to be the captain and winning the trophy was a team effort. Honestly, I did like it when everyone was talking about us and we were the toast of the nation. I am most comfortable on the cricket field. After taking a couple of days off, I was back at the training ground,” he said.
Unmukt says that life hasn’t changed for him after the triumph in Australia.
“People today recognise me when I am out on the street and want to take pictures with me. But then, reality is that the adoration came with winning the tournament. So I behave how I used to. I know who my friends are and also know who I can go to when I am going through a tough phase. I have matured a little, but that has come with the experience I have gained over the last two years."
“I have been called for a lot of public speaking and seminars. I use it as an opportunity to grow in confidence and value things in life,” he said.
The moment Unmukt landed in Delhi, his college’s decision not allowing him to sit in the examination sparked a controversy.
He feels that things could have been done differently.
“Honestly, I feel things were hyped and could have been solved quietly. But I want to thank the media nevertheless because this makes things easier not only for us, but also for sportspersons in the future,” he said.
Commenting on living out of a suitcase since the World Cup, Unmukt says: “I love the hectic schedule. Be it the World Cup, the India A tour to New Zealand or the CLT20 in South Africa now. I feel now is the time to push myself that extra bit. Obviously it feels good to be home, but cricket is my priority.”