Unmukt Chand: One innings changes fortune, opens up an entire world

Unmukt Chand writes about the battle with one's self, the pursuit of self-discovery and treading the thin line between success and failure.

Unmukt Chand: Don’t let the world dictate you it’s definition of these two monsters - Success and Failure.   -  k. bhagya prakash

The terms success and failure are two ends of a broad spectrum. The more you chase one, the other keeps rolling towards you as if trying to catch you and maybe topple you for a moment.

One cannot live without the emergence of the other. They are the two kindred spirits who live together, but only in each others absence. Together they can’t survive.

Well it’s a matter of how we look at it. The world’s view of success and failure can be too harsh on most of us, so it’s always better to have your own understanding and identification with it. These two are very vague terms so make whatever you want to make of it.

It’s always important to be nice to oneself so take it easy. Don’t let the world dictate you it’s definition of these two monsters.

I got a hang of these terms pretty early in my career. Though my brain had not been developed enough to reason with it or to theoretically understand it, but I experienced it with it’s full strength, thanks to my early exposure in the world of cricket.

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To be honest, cricket has been my greatest teacher. It has made me live a life to the fullest with passion and enthusiasm. I am sure I would’ve lived half a life if it wasn’t for cricket.

Cricket taught me love, respect for oneself and others, importance of dedication and perseverance and so much more and I am lucky enough to have experienced life through it in it’s most pristine and glorious forms. Obviously success and failures came with it.

They are like the ghosts that keep following you and who said the ghosts are always scary and bad. They can be the angels too.

Well, I’ve seen a lot of them as have so many of my colleagues and others before us and of course all those yet to embark on this bumpy yet spectacularly strange journey.

It’s always easier to look back and recollect the past happenings, the wins and the losses, the hundreds and the ducks, the selections and the fall outs.

They look fine. As someone rightly said, you always remember the good parts. The brain doesn’t remember pain for too long. One bright moment and you forget all that stuff of the past.

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As a cricketer, I am blessed to have experienced these moments of high and lows constantly. Not to forget that I am still in the journey. The doubts, the mental comebacks, the constant pushing physically, skill wise, mentally and spiritually, the pursuit is still on. It’s like I am in a dream within a dream. Our world of cricket is such.

One fine day you get on the field, all pumped up, all the boxes tick marked, feeling invigorated, ready to show the world what you are made of, with a backlog of countless hours of practice and mental visualisations and you take the name of the almighty, take your stance and get ready to play the ball.

“Easy!! I’ve done this a million times,” you say to yourself. “I am good. My stars are also aligned according to mom. Bring it on!!”

And bam! the ball hits your pad the very first ball and you slowly look up. It’s like you hit a pause button, your heartbeat stops and everything else moves in the background like really slow. It’s like a proper scene from a black and white movie when the protagonist catches the first glimpse of the lady and everything slows down. Just in my case I look up to the bowler and the nearby fielders jumping in the air and celebrating as the finger goes up.

It’s no more a battle of bat and ball. It is now a battle with self.   -  ap


You literally feel like a criminal who’s been given a death sentence and the public applauds and you walk back to the gallows with heavy steps. You can’t just fathom of what has happened. Doubts fill you up. You question everything that you were boastful and pompous of.

“Will I play the next game? Will I ever score runs? What are my team-mates thinking of me? Am I a baggage?” You certainly hit a wall after a few such innings. It can be the toughest time for any cricketer.

It’s no more a battle of bat and ball. It is now a battle with self. Every cricketer goes through it, except Virat Kohli of course, who too felt a slim glimpse of it in the England tour of 2014. According to his own confessions on the recent live chat on Instagram with Kevin Pietersen , he claimed it was the first time he felt he would get out before the game and just dragged himself through knowing he is going down for sure.

Imagine the plight of a batsman knowing he is going to fail beforehand. What’s the point of playing, you would say?

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And just when you feel you are done, it’s all over, magic happens. It goes right with the saying, “Success happens when you least expect it”, It comes to you in the most bizarre ways, at the most weird places.

And suddenly you transform from a lost soul to the most wanted person. One innings changes a fortune. And more than anything else, it opens up an entire world to you. The glimmer of hope that was getting shunted due to heavy dark clouds seem to open up and for once you can see clearly.

I’ve learnt to live with equanimity though I can’t fully claim to have gained mastery over it.   -  shiv kumar pushpakar


It’s a moment of Satori! Clarity engulfs you and the trust comes back. You again feel as if you belong. Someone rightly said, you want to kill a man, take away his dream. Just when you were about to loose it, your bat responded making you dream again. You live again. Life gives you a second chance. The confidence comes back and though nothing much has changed, you feel a different person.

The subsequent innings might or might not go in your favour and this story will keep repeating itself over and over again until you hit a good patch and expand your scoreboard to a point where you can’t be overlooked and you make it to the next level. Well only the level has changed, the dynamics remain the same. And let me assure you, it would happen till the last day of your active cricketing life.

Am I prepared for it? Hell yes!! So what do we learn from this?

Don’t take any of it personally. It wasn’t yours at the first place. The more one understands it, accepts it, the better he would fare through this journey.

I say that I feel blessed to be a cricketer because I get to feel and live through these heavy emotions day in and day out. I don’t think life can turn so quickly in any other field. One day you are champion, next day you are the reason for your teams demise.

Getting to feel this on a daily basis has definitely given me a lot of strength. I’ve learnt to live with equanimity though I can’t fully claim to have gained mastery over it. No one can. I am grateful for a life that plays on quick forwards. About 10-15 years of cricketing life are enough to take you through your life in it’s entirety.

Just remember to block the googlies, hit the ones in your area and learn to rotate strike in between. Such is cricket and such is life.

To end it I would like to quote Emily Dickinson from her poem titled Success.

"Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne’er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires the sorest need."

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