‘Living alone, cooking your meals can change you as a person’

Delhi cricketer Unmukt Chand, who led India U-19 team to World Cup win in 2012, recently spent two months with Colne Club in England to resurrect his career.

Chand has eight first-class tons and 16 half-centuries under his belt. He has also played in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians.   -  Sandeep Saxena

“My book, The Sky Is The Limit: My Journey To The World Cup, happened out of the diary that I started writing three months before the U-19 World Cup in 2012.”

In the past, many cricketers — like Michael Atherton and Derek Pringle — have turned authors post retirement and it isn’t a new phenomenon. But Delhi cricketer Unmukt Chand, who led the India U-19 team to triumph in the juniors’ mega event in Townsville five summers ago, earned the writer tag early in his career.

The 24-year-old does think differently. He doesn’t fret over not being called for an IPL season; he would instead look for alternatives to improve his game. Recently, the right-handed batsman, once touted as the next Virat Kohli, spent two months with Colne Club in the Lancashire League in England to regain focus and plot his resurrection.

“The trip was not only about cricket. It had a lot to do with a change of lifestyle. I wanted to spend time with myself to focus better. Living alone and cooking your meals can change you as a person,” Chand told Sportstar, after returning to India last week. “When I wasn’t there in the IPL this year, I thought I needed to do something different to change my approach. I wanted to fine-tune my craft and club cricket there helped me find my mental space,” he added.

He didn’t have a stellar team and the conditions were rough, but it helped Chand hone his temperament. “Once I start playing in the domestic season ahead, I will be able to analyse how much I have improved as a cricketer. I scored 140 in one of the matches, which felt good. But my team was a weak one. If I got out, the whole team would be out in the next 40 runs. On top of that, it kept raining throughout my tenure. Club cricket in England isn’t as good as it used to be during the times of Kapil Dev and Sir Viv Richards; County, however, is a different ball game. It is more like Ranji Trophy,” said Chand, who had Ravi Teja from Hyderabad as company in the league.

His only target now is to score in the domestic season and rewrite his name in the selectors’ book. “If I have a good season, the other factors will take its course. I don’t want to be too vocal about it currently but a national call-up is definitely there at the back of my mind. I want to emerge as one of the top-scorers in Ranji Trophy,” he revealed.

The comparison with Kohli never bothered him. Rather, he felt good. “I think comparisons are only for the masses. But it felt great to know that people thought so highly of me. I have my own journey and I want to chalk out my own way. But Virat has set many records and the nation is proud of him. He is a run machine. When you are in that zone, things keep happening and you need to keep your goals in mind. You never know, one day I can probably write another book, maybe on the seniors’ World Cup,” Chand reasoned.

Chand has eight first-class tons and 16 half-centuries under his belt. He has also played in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians.