India’s Under19 World Cup winner Unmukt Chand has spoken about what could be termed the lowest phase of his cricket career. The year Chand is referring to is 2016 when the batsman was dropped from the Delhi one-day squad followed by a snub by his IPL team Mumbai Indians.
Chand, a key member of Delhi’s First-Class and List-A teams, was surprisingly dropped from its limited-overs set-up during the 2015-16 domestic season, the format the batsman preferred and had a strong record in. And this, despite doing well for India A, of which Chand was the captain.
“The biggest shock for me came when I was dropped from the one-day team of Delhi. I was captaining India A then (2016), scoring runs, playing zonal T20 Cricket in Mumbai and they dropped me from one-day squad only. I was playing with Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir, the selectors told me that we are preparing you for something else and they have dropped you from the Delhi squad,” he told former Delhi teammate Aakash Chopra during a chat on his YouTube channel.
“I got dropped and got a chance after Delhi lost its first 3 matches. I got to play in the 5th and 6th match where I scored 75 and 80 runs to get Man-of-The-Match awards on both the occasions. Now, because I had not played many matches, I did not have many runs and so I was not selected for India A either. That was for the first time in 2017 that I did not get to represent India A.”
The same year, Unmukt endured a double whammy when he was released by the Mumbai Indians after playing just one match, where he did not even get the chance to bat. The previous year – in 2015 – Chand had played six matches, scoring 102 runs with a high score of 58 not out, but as it turns out, it wasn’t enough for the franchise to keep Chand. It has been three seasons since and Chand is yet to attract a buyer in IPL auctions.
“That was also the time when I got dropped from the IPL. It’s a funny story again. I was in Mumbai Indians and they had retained me. It was such a big team that I was not getting any chance to play. I wanted to go to a side where at least I get matches to play. I talked to someone and he told me to leave MI and come to them. I just wanted to play and it was not about money. I wanted to play even if I was being picked at my base price,” he said.
“Then during the auction no one picked me. It suddenly stood in my face that there was suddenly no IPL, Delhi cricket. It was the biggest shock for me. I felt like my clothes were ripped apart. Suddenly from everywhere to nowhere. I woke up after 3-4 days and went to practice,” said Chand.