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Unmukt Chand’s confidence will take him places

first_imgThese days, Unmukt Chand doesn’t even have the time to go to the market near his residence in Mayur Vihar Phase-I extension. Some of the shopkeepers who have seen the 19-year-old since the time he was a young boy and know him well are aware he is very busy, having been in the news now for almost a week.Sports View by S.Kannan.One would have wished that Unmukt made news just because of his cricket and not anything else. But these days, when anything connected with a superstar becomes big news, he is talked about more because of his university exams and St Stephen’s College.Now that the issue has been sorted out, it’s good the boy can focus on cricket all over again. Those close to the articulate young man say that he has been put through so many interviews that he has hardly been able to spend time with family and friends.And in less than two days, Unmukt will have to be ready for the grind of the India A tour to New Zealand, which will be preceded by a trip to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.What has impressed me the most about Unmukt is his confidence, temperament and clarity when he speaks. It is well known that as a youngster, he was not able to convert the 30s and 40s into big knocks. But it didn’t take him too long to figure out what it takes to get to a triple digit score as he has gained inspiration from the right people.In the good old days, when juniors looked for inspiration in any sport, they would invoke the oldtime heroes. If in football, it had to be PK Banerjee or Chuni Goswami, then in tennis it could well have been the Krishnan or the Amritraj family or Leander Paes.However, these days, in football or tennis, if youngsters are looking for role models at home, they will relate better to a Bhaichung Bhutia or Vishnu Vardhan.Times have changed in cricket as well. Someone like Unmukt relates more closely to the present, which is why he has repeatedly talked about the inspiration he gains from Virat Kohli.It is well known in India that any young batsman will talk about wanting to be like a Sachin Tendulkar. Now that the maestro is again going through a bad patch, when Unmukt talks of how Kohli and Virender Sehwag have helped him evolve as a cricketer, it is indeed very interesting.It is not as if Kohli is a veteran in cricket. Having been pitchforked into stardom recently and also coming good against New Zealand in the second Test in Bangalore on Saturday, it’s a sign of the confidence he oozes.If one goes through the winning performances of India in the under-19 World Cup, before this you had Mohammad Kaif and Kohli as winning captains.While Kaif lost his way and was unable to translate his junior success on the senior platform, Kohli has grown in stature. From a crack batsman in the ODIs, he has now shown maturity in playing good Test knocks.I am sure, even today, Unmukt would have learnt a few lessons watching Kohli bat so fluently against the Kiwis.We often wonder what cricketers do in the dressing room. Now that Unmukt has spoken about the learning process from his Delhi Ranji team seniors Kohli and Sehwag it is clear he is a fast learner.As one who hails from Uttarakhand and studied at Modern School, Barakhamba Road, Unmukt has played a huge amount of club cricket in the capital.By his own admission, he has not modelled himself on any particular cricketer and his stroke production is eye-catching.Yet, as he makes the transition from here to the senior level, he knows the priority will be to do well in the India A tour and also in first-class fixtures. As a Delhi Daredevils boy, he has done well not to get swayed too much by the shorter version of the game that the IPL is. So when we hear Unmukt of wanting to excel in all formats of cricket, it’s very encouraging indeed.On a more positive note for Delhi cricket, it’s heartening to note that though the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association remains in the news for all its politics, cricketers are still emerging.In the old days, it was Bombay which produced star batsmen. But from Sehwag to Gautam Gambhir and now Virat Kohli to Unmukt Chand, the capital has a fantastic array of dashing batsmen.Maybe, when the Ranji Trophy season begins, all eyes will again be on Delhi, whose achievements in recent seasons have been below par. As for all the brouhaha over Unmukt’s college results and so on, it really doesn’t matter how many years he takes to graduate. He has a huge cricketing career ahead of him and that’s what matters to cricket lovers.s.kannan@mailtoday.inadvertisementadvertisementlast_img

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