Unmukt Chand, India's 2012 U19 World Cup-winning captain, retires at the age of 28 | Cricket


Unmukt Chand, India’s 2012 U-19 World Cup-winning captain, announced his decision to retire from all forms of cricket at the age of 28 on Friday. Unmukt, in a series of tweets, poured his heart out, while deciding to hang his boots.  

“After thinking for a while, I still could not find the perfect beginning to this letter. Writing this down brings out mixed emotions in me. I don’t know how I should be feeling cause honestly I am still figuring it out. The very thought of not being able to represent my country again literally stops my heartbeat for a while. I have grown up playing cricket with just one and only dream of playing for India.

“The love for this game has been very pure for me and I am grateful to have achieved a few milestones along the way. From getting up early in the morning for training, scheduling my entire day around cricket and trying to find out ways to become a better player has always been my drive and motivation and still keeps me going as the journey is only halfway through,” Unmukt tweeted.

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Unmukt, who was pitted to be the next big thing of Indian cricket like his U19 predecessor Virat Kohli, played 67 first-class games, scoring 3379 runs at an average of 31.57. The right-hander, whose hundred against Australia in the 2012 U19 World Cup final, made him an instant name, failed to live up to his immense talent. 

“I can proudly look back at my cricketing journey in India and I feel so blessed to have made a mark in a cricket-frenzied nation. Big thanks to BCCI for giving cricketers like me a platform to express and showcase our skills through so many camps, age group and senior board tournaments and the IPL. Definitely the hallmark of the biggest cricket board in the world. Personally there have been quite a few glorious moments in my cricketing journey in India. Winning the U-19 World cup for India is one of the biggest moments of my life. It was a special feeling to lift the cup as a captain and bring smiles to so many Indians across the world. I can never forget that feeling. Also, leading India A on numerous occasions and winning various bilateral and tri series are etched in my memory forever.

Unmukt was a regular figure in the India A teams in between 2013 and 2015 but lack of runs meant he never quite managed to take the next big step. He represented Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians in the IPL without much success. 

The curtains were drawn on his promising when he was dropped from the Delhi Vijay Hazare Trophy squad in 2016. He moved to Uttarakhand in 2019-20 but failed to make an impact.  

“I can play this game with all my heart and energy for a lifetime and more. I have always been honest to my game with my hard work and determination but sometimes things don’t pan out as imagined and makes us take life changing decisions which can only be judged at the end of the journey. I am a firm believer in hard work and destiny and God has his own ways to unfold the life in front of us. He closes some doors but opens many others. It’s just a matter of perspective. Being an eternal optimist, I feel the road ahead of me is going to lead me to an exciting new journey and I can add much more value to it. I feel more complete as a cricketer and a human being and I am ready to take the leap of faith and enter into a new territory and contribute my best.

“Playing amongst the best players in India and across the world has taught me a lot. I would also like to thank DDCA for giving me an opportunity so early on in my career to rub shoulders with the stalwarts of Delhi and Indian cricket. Having spent time around these legends for so many years has been instrumental in my own journey. I want to thank all my fellow players, coaches, support staff for bringing out the best in me. I will forever cherish these memories. Lastly, I would like to say that things have not been as smooth in the last few years and opportunities have been denied. Though a part of me is not at peace with the way things have unfolded in the last few years, I still choose to see the silver lining and with fond memories bid adieu to BCCI and seek better opportunities around the world.”

In another tweet, Unmukt added that he might be looking at opportunities to play cricket abroad. 

“Cricket is a universal game and even though the means might change, the end goal is still the same — to play cricket at the highest level. Also, a huge thanks to all my supporters and well-wishers for always carrying me in their heart. There is no better feeling than being loved and appreciated for who you are. I feel eternally blessed to have such a genuine family. Thank you, everyone. Looking forward to the next chapter…,” he ended.



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