Medha Apartments in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar is no more a non-descript residential complex. Overnight it has become a celebrity corner even as its most famous tenant grabs the attention of the cricket world with a fabulous feat for a teenager.

Unmukt Chand, leading by example, was the star performer for India under-19 in far away Townsville (Australia), his unbeaten 111 swinging the World Cup final India’s way. In fact, three days prior to the final his facebook status “I can feel the World Cup Trophy” reflected his confidence.

Unmukt chose cricket to academics. Not that he was a poor student. His father Bharat Chand Thakur, an economics teacher in a government school, ensured the boy did not ignore his studies. Cricket, thanks to uncle Sundar, remained paramount in Unmukt’s life. It was not a bad decision at all.

Unmukt was just another boy in the neighbourhood. His cricket exploits, of course, set him apart as he graduated from smashing the window panes in his society to grabbing newspaper headlines as an under-16 cricketer. His skills were honed at Modern School, Barakhamba Road and LB Shastri Club gave him the platform to compete in the local league.

Ganesh devotee

His society seniors mostly saw Unmukt in cricket gear. He would leave home early even on holidays, attending ‘nets’ or playing matches, and the newspapers next morning would announce his feats. To his credit, he never strayed from his goal. A daily visit to the nearby Ganesh temple was a custom he has never missed. “Faith is what drives you,” he would say. It was this faith in self that carried Unmukt into the realms of first-class cricket.

He is studious when it comes to cricket. He is good at observing and grasping even though his flamboyant nature at the crease costs him dear often. The impulse to play shots even early in the innings did not quite endear him to his coaches and captains but none ever doubted his potential. His coach Sanjay Bhardwaj assessed his ward well. “I have not seen a more determined student. His self belief is very strong. Often he sets targets and mostly achieves them. He has the hunger for runs too and is far more matured for his age. He will go far.”

Unmukt, two first-class seasons old, should go far, no doubt. India great Bishan Singh Bedi is convinced he will make a mark in the highest league. It is a matter of time before Unmukt makes his presence felt there too.


India claims its third U-19 World CupAugust 26, 2012

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