Bangalore, Aug 27: Is Unmukt Chand the new Virat Kohli of Indian cricket? Most of them who have followed both Delhi boys think so.
When Chand helped India lift the Under-19 World Cup in Australia on Sunday, his innings wore a look of Kohli. The India U-19 captain's batting style and his compilation of shots reminded one of Kohli.
Chand and Kohli have a lot of similarities. First, they both hail from the same city, Delhi. Both are right-handed batsmen. Chand and Kohli are U-19 World Cup winning captains. Their style of batting and approach to the game are identical.
However, one thing which separates Chand from his senior Delhi batsman is the aggressive approach on the field. While most of the time, Kohli displays his aggressive side of his character, Chand has so far kept to himself, doing his job in a quiet manner. The 18-year-old Chand has also a habit of diary-writing and always carry a dictionary.
Even when Kohli led India to U-19 World Cup triumph in Malaysia in 2008, the young lad was the same. And he had said it is his "plus point".
"My aggression is my plus point. It's because of my aggression that I have been able to perform so well on the field till now. I don't think I need to try bringing the level down. I agree sometimes I do cross the line that I think I need to take care of," Kohli had said.
On Sunday, Kohli was quick to praise Chand's batting in the final.
"It was a wonderful batting effort in the final by the captain Unmukt (Chand). One of the best knocks I had ever seen," Kohli said.
Yuvraj Singh had recently compared Chand to Kohli. And this was an inspiration for him.
"It's really inspiring when people compare me to Virat (Kohli) and all. You feel happy about it but then you have to continue scoring runs and contribute to the team's cause. It's all about performing well on a consistent basis," Chand had said.
Another Delhi batsman and one of the most feared batsmen, Virender Sehwag too has helped Chand in shaping his career.
"Watching these (senior) players Sehwag and Kohli, you pick up a lot of things, not just directly but indirectly as well. That doesn't really apply to captaincy. I have, however, picked up a few batting tips.
"I spoke to Virat (Kohli) when he scored the two centuries in Bangladesh and Australia (earlier in 2012). At that time I was getting out in the 30s and 40s in the Ranji Trophy so I asked him for advice. He told me that it was important to believe in one's abilities. That it was important to react to the ball rather than plan one's strategy beforehand. You don't need much technical (advice) but these motivating words about one's mindset before playing a shot help a lot," Chand had told BCCI's website before leaving for U-19 World Cup.
Chand, having already played first class cricket for Delhi and also the Indian Premier League with Delhi Daredevils, is definitely one of the future stars of Indian cricket.
He needs to be guided in the right path. He could soon join the select group of U-19 cricketers who made it big at the international stage.
Chand, coached by Sanjay Bharadwaj, who also guided Gautam Gambhir, has been chosen in India 'A' team for New Zealand tour in two months' time. If he grabs that opportunity and scores heavily, India cap could soon be his.
For now, let us celebrate India's U-19 World Cup win and salute Chand and his boys.