Chand, who has led India to the ICC U-19 World Cup triumph back in 2012, was expected to break into the senior squad by now. However, things didn’t pan out as per the plan in the last six years and the 24-year-old is still working hard to earn that elusive India cap.
In an exclusive interview with Times of India, Chand opened up the rationale why he didn’t manage to fetch an IPL contract this year. He stated that getting axed from the Delhi team in 2016-17 season despite being a performer affected his career prospects including IPL.
“Getting dropped from Delhi was the biggest disappointment of my life. I became the scapegoat of petty politics in the team. I was playing a T20 zonal match in Mumbai two years back when I heard the news of getting axed from the One-day side. I was leading India A in a couple of months before that and was the highest scorer there. I had been the top run-getter for Delhi the previous season, and I was dropped. That was shocking,” Unmukt Chand told TOI.
“I was retained by MI (2016) but because I didn’t get to play matches in the previous year (2015) I decided to get released from the squad to find a team where I could play, and not sit out, even at the base price. Playing is more important than money. It was a hard decision and a big risk too, but I opted out. Unfortunately, I was dropped from the Delhi side four days before the auction, and I’m sure it didn’t send the right signal to the franchises. I wasn’t picked,” he added.
As far as this season is concerned – Chand has featured in only two matches in the domestic T20 tournament for Delhi, one of them being a final, where he scored a half-century. Since his place in the current Delhi squad is still in doubt, the thought of representing another state has popped up in his mind.
“Yes, I have thought about it. I have been forced to think about it. However, things are still not concrete,” he said.
Nonetheless, Chand in hindsight feels the exclusion from Delhi team ‘liberated’ him.
“I had lived my biggest fear of getting dropped from the Delhi Ranji team, and thus overcame the fear by only realizing the next day that it was a mental barrier and nothing else. I went beyond the fear. It liberated me,” Unmukt Chand concluded.