Graduating from junior cricket to rubbing shoulders with the big boys has not been easy, but Unmukt Chand is slowly finding his feet
Unmukt Chand may not have replicated his success of the under-19 days after graduating to senior cricket two years ago, but the 21-year-old seems to be finally getting into the groove amongst the big boys.
India A's Unmukt Chand plays a pull shot en route his unbeaten 79 against the West Indies yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble.
Yesterday, the former India U-19 World Cup-winning skipper was in full flow against the West Indies, driving, pulling and cutting the ball with ease. Unmukt’s unbeaten 79 helped India ‘A’ make short work of the below-par score of 148 in 38.1 overs posted by the visitors in the first warm-up game at the Brabourne Stadium. The hosts chased down the total in 25.3 overs to win by nine wickets.
The Windies’ struggle against spinners — Amit Mishra (3-26) and Karn Sharma (2-27) and Parvez Rasool (1-7) — will surely be a huge cause for concern for the Denesh Ramdin-led side, which have only a few days left before taking on India in the five-match ODI series starting October 8.
No need for risks
With no need to take any risk, Unmukt and his opening partner Murali Vijay (26) took their own sweet time to settle down. The former built his innings smartly, rotating the strike and playing along the ground. He only chanced his arms after reaching his half-century. The consecutive sixes off Marlon Samuels in the 24th over — one over midwicket and the other over long-on — were enough to show that he is maturing as a cricketer.
Analysing his innings, Unmukt said: “I planned to leave balls outside the off-stump alone. I only went for my shots once I felt I was 100 per cent in control of them. “I have been working on my shortcomings. I was frequently getting out, playing backfoot punches. I was careful about that.”
Unmukt also impressed the chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil, who went near the dressing room to congratulate him. But the Delhi dasher is not looking too far. “I am focused on my batting. I am not worried about my selection. It is about me becoming a better player every day,” said Unmukt.