Unmukt Chand has the temperament, flair and character to go a long distance

unmukt chand isnFollowing the footsteps of his illustrious seniors -- Mohammad Kaif and Virat Kohli -- Delhi lad Unmukt Chand helped India lift the Under-19 Cricket World Cup for the third time. But then what was different on Chand’s part was that the skipper took the onus on himself to deliver the goods and took India to victory with his scintillating unbeaten knock of 111 runs.

Earlier, Indian bowlers led by Sandeep Sharma did their job pretty well and restricted the defending champions to a total of 226 runs. However India did look little shaky during the chase and it was the partnership of Chand and Smit Patel that took India home. Smit requires a special mention for his all important role of second fiddle in the chase, but it was the skipper who led the team from the front.

Chand, the biggest name in team, did not play to his capability throughout and perhaps had saved his best for the last. He anchored the Indian innings from the start and scored a match winning 111 runs knock.

This was his third consecutive century in the finals for the Delhi cricketer and this must have been like a déjà vu for Australia who few months ago lost to India in the quadrangular series final due to a similar knock by Chand.

His century in the match does show that he has class and can graduate in the senior level. As it is known that Under-19 is the last step for a player before he gets into the senior side, Chand has already been promoted to the India ‘A’ and his innings proves that he has the quality and class to fit into this high profile Indian batting line-up.

Many pundits compare him with his Delhi senior Virat Kohli and his performance in the finals against Australia shows that the comparison is a valid one. Chand, who was going through an average form ahead of this match, rose to the occasions and played perhaps the most important knock of his career so far. He delivered under pressure and his innings was stamped with authority something which is quite similar with Kohli.

Chand started off rather slow and when wickets were falling in a flurry. He hung on and did not involve in any risky shot and went with the flow and accelerated at the right time to counter the asking rate which at a point of time went close to 6.5 runs an over.

And the best part about his innings was that he played responsibly and not like a brash youngster. He knew it for a fact that he is the best batsman of the side and the captain and had to act accordingly.

When Smit came into bat and missed the first ball, Chand walked up to him and appreciated him and calmed his nerves which did wonders to him and he played a great role in the Indian triumph.

Leading an under-19 side in the World Cup means that the player is a consistent performer in the domestic circuit and it acts a testing ground for the players. Many players for instance Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Kohli were helped a lot by their Under-19 World Cup performance and the question that can Chand follow the footsteps of his illustrious seniors?

Unlike the other young batsmen who are going around the circuit, he looks to play cricketing strokes and depends more on his technique and class than his power. He has made an impression ad if he continues to bat like he is batting at present, he is most certain to make an impression on our selectors.

He has the temperament, class and also the fact that plays in the IPL makes his prospect very bright, but then he would have to wait for some more time and till then keep up the good work at the junior level so that he does not go out of the reckoning because he has it in him to last the distance.

By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
Indian Sports News Network