Bangalore, Aug 26: Unmukt Chand became only the third Under-19 India player to lead the country to an Under-19 World Cup title. He did it in Townsville in Australia on Sunday (August 26).
Previously, Mohammad Kaif in 2000 and Virat Kohli in 2008 had won India the U-19 World Cup titles. Chand led from the front in the final by scoring an unbeaten century. An 111 not out (130 balls, 7 fours, 6 sixes) in the title clash against Australia is always special.
Thanks to his hundred, India won by six wickets chasing 226 to win the trophy.
Chand was one of the stars of the World Cup with 246 runs with one century and one half ton. He hit 25 fours and nine sixes in the tournament. He averaged 49.20. He saved the best for the last.
It was a magnificent innings from the right-handed batsman from Delhi.
In July this year, Chand emerged as one of the brightest youngsters from the Under-19 Asia Cup 2012 in Kuala Lumpur.
He hit back-to-back centuries in the tournament (semi-final and final). Though he guided the team into the final, his ton (121) against Pakistan in the title clash could not earn the trophy as the match ended in a thrilling tie at the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
It was a huge disappointment for the young skipper as India, from a winning position, faltered to a tie. The trophy was shared. The opener accumulated 370 runs from five games in the Asia Cup.
Chand also shared the Man-of-the-match award with Pakistan opener Sami Aslam, who took scored a ton.
Chand, a right-hander, plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy. He also represents Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL). During last year's IPL, Chand, at 18, became the youngest IPL player.
The 19-year-old, who has won praises for his sound batting technique, may be soon donning the India cap. He has proved his worth as a batsman and his rise to international senior level could be sooner than later.
Chand has been a talented lad from the Under-15 stage. He has played for Delhi in Under-15, Under-16 and Under-19 tournaments. He is coached by Sanjay Bharadwaj, who is also Gautam Gambhir's coach.
He was in the North Zone Under-16 team for the Hanumant Trophy. His interest in cricket began at the age of four but started playing seriously from seven.
Chand is a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar and draws is inspired by the Master Blaster's dedication to the game for over two decades.
In April this year, Chand, captaining India U-19, led the team to title triumph over Australia in their country. He hit a magnificent 112 not out in the final against the hosts.
In 2011, at Visakhapatnam, Chand was one of the stars as India Under-19 won the Quadrangular tournament.
Chand has been a consistent performers in age group tournaments. With all the runs in these competitions, he won a place in the Delhi Ranji Trophy team.
At 17, he made his first class debut for Delhi against Gujarat at Feroz Shah Kotla. He made 35 in his first ever Ranji Trophy innings. Till now he has appeared in 11 first class games and scored 738 runs with one hundred and four fifties.
Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad and Virat Kohli are the best examples to come out of Under-19s and go on to the senior level.
Chand is definitely on the right path to follow in their footsteps. Congratulations to the U-19 World Cup winning skipper and his team-mates.
Unmukt Chand Facts
# Born: March 26, 1993
# Currently India Under-19 captain
# Was the youngest IPL player at 18 in 2011
# A big fan of Sachin Tendulkar
# Bats Right-handed, bowls off-spin
# Coached by Sanjay Bharadwaj, Delhi
# Plays for Delhi in Ranji Trophy
# IPL team: Delhi Daredevils
# Played U-15, U-16 and U-19 age group tournaments
# Made first class debut for Delhi in November 2010 against Gujarat