Former India Under-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand has revealed that it was a gentle gesture from legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar that inspired him to work harder and dream bigger.
Talking about his recent meeting with Tendulkar, Unmukt, who tasted U-19 World Cup glory in 2012 as captain, said, “That will be an unforgettable day in my life.”
Eleven young cricketers associated with a corporate sports initiative were given the opportunity to be mentored by the recently-retired batting maestro and Unmukt was “humbled” by his icon’s encouraging words.
“Sir came to me, shook my hand, handed me a bat, patted my back and said, ‘Unmukt, you have always been a special talent. I see you doing well for the country in years to come.
All the best and keep working hard’,” Unmukt wrote in a blog on sport social network Sportlobster.
“I grew up in an era where Sachin Tendulkar ruled the world of cricket. Who can forget the desert storm in Sharjah or that pull to Andrew Caddick in the 2003 World Cup, which went out of the park!” he added.
Unmukt, who was bought by Rajasthan Royals at the recent players’ auction for the seventh edition of the IPL, said it was a step forward in realising his dream of playing for India in future.
“A dream for every cricketer playing in this country is to walk across the field in that blue jersey and cling onto it for as long as possible. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t my dream growing up — it still is.
“The only difference between then and now is I have been lucky enough to represent my country in what I would like to call the ‘lighter’ shade of blue. The dream is and has always been to play for the India senior team in the ‘perfect’ shade of blue,” Unmukt wrote.
However, the youngster is under no illusions about the enormous pressure that comes with the honour of representing one’s country.