Unmukt Chand, having been named captain of the India 'A' one-day squad, has climbed another step on the ladder towards the national team. After an ordinary Indian Premier League, things were not falling in place for the 2012 U-19 World Cup winning captain. He was ignored for the India 'A' tour of South Africa and couldn't play too much cricket in the local tournaments in Delhi, thanks to the monsoon. Also Read: Unmukt 'fine tunes' for road ahead
From emerging as a probable contender for the opening slot in the Indian team, especially after featuring in the probables for the ICC Champions Trophy, to struggling to find the right touch in the domestic season, it was turning out to be a mixed year for the right-hander. A promising spring followed a gloomy winter and the rain clouds have finally showered over the 20-year old. He now finds himself with a packed calendar and will be representing India A — both in unofficial Tests and one-dayers — and India U-23 in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Team tournament over the coming months.
The BCCI Senior Selection Committee, which met in Mumbai on Wednesday to pick the squads for the two Tests and three one-day games against a touring New Zealand A side, decided that Chand would lead the one-day squad featuring the likes of Robin Uthappa and Rahul Sharma, with both having represented India.
Having enjoyed some time off from the game, Chand is spurred by the big announcement and wants to put his best foot forward.
Confidence to lead
"It is sudden news, leading the India 'A' side. It gives me a lot of confidence and I'm looking forward to it. It is a great side. We will definitely do well," he says. Chand exudes confidence about marshalling senior pros, and plays it down as just another challenge. "Let's see how things unfold over time. It is a new challenge, something I haven't done before. Looking forward to the challenge of leading this side," he adds. Chand also features in the Abhishek Nayar-led squad for the two 'Tests'.
The India 'A' call, however, doesn't distract Chand from the job at hand and the Delhi lad is directing all his efforts to do well in the upcoming ACC Emerging Team tournament to be played in Singapore from August 17 to 25.
"All my efforts right now are focussed on the upcoming Asia Cup. Once I am done with it, I will think more about the India 'A' series. The Asia Cup preparations are going really well. Our camp starts in a couple of days. I have played with most of them (teammates) over the last couple of years. The training and all are coming really well, hope all turns out well," he says.
If reports are to be believed, a West Indies A tour might follow the New Zealand series. A good show against the visiting Kiwis will not only improve Chand's run with the bat, but give the selectors a reminder of his credentials. Chand wants to emulate his good outings with the bat, and play an important role for his side.
"I don't want to set any particular goal or target for the series. Playing matches is always good. I have done all the hard work, now it is time to replicate what I did in the previous matches. A good performance definitely helps and I want to do well and help the team win the tournament,' says Chand.