Former India U-19 cricket team captain Unmukt Chand said he knew there was a chance he would not become a regular in the Indian cricket team after winning the ICC U-19 World Cup.
“Of course, for any Under-19 player, the World Cup is the most important thing. The hard work of so many years – from Junior cricket to Under-16 and so on, it’s like a summit for any junior cricketer to reach there and definitely. Just like winning the World Cup is a dream, similarly, lifting the Under-19 World Cup is also one,” Chand told former India batsman Aakash Chopra on his YouTube Channel.
“Four years ago, I had seen Virat (Kohli) bhaiya leading the side and winning the cup, so since it was fresh in the memory its impact was big. I knew stories could be different. It’s not like you always automatically play for India but for me it was more important to win the Under-19 World Cup.”
Many believe that Chand was not given a fair crack at the whip in senior cricket but the man himself believes that wasn't the case, adding that he did get chances in the India A set-up and was scoring runs too, but that things don't always work out eben then.
“It’s not like I didn’t get opportunities after the win. I played for India A and I was captaining the team till 2016 as well. I was getting runs.
"A few times I was told ‘just be ready, we’ll be picking you’. But that’s ok. To say that had I played, I would have done this and that isn’t logical. The most important is what happened and what I could have learnt."
Additionally, he believes him not being a part of the set-up now has as much to do with timing as anything else since when he was scoring well the likes of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were a part of the team.
However, when India needed options atop the order his own form was 'under a slump' and that didn't help his cause.
“At times it’s like you’re aware that the Indian cricket team is about combinations. I remember very clearly that when things were going well with me, Viru bhaiya and Gautam bhaiya used to open for India. Then there was a time when there was a dearth of good openers, and during that period, my form was under a slump. Those things are also important,” Chand said.
“I take it in my stride. I have had many good experiences and even though that couldn’t materialise into getting an India cap, it’s a journey. I’ll be able to sum it better the day I finish with my cricket.”