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'Sky is the Limit' for cricketer-author Unmukt Chand!

December 11, 2013 09:50 IST

'Sky is the Limit' for cricketer-author Unmukt Chand!

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Bikash Mohapatra

India’s Under-19 World Cup-winning captain tells Bikash Mohapatra that the habit of maintaining a diary made him an author even before he became an international cricketer.

For a 20-year-old, he has already received enough attention. Touted as the next big hope of Indian cricket, he regularly makes the headlines. However, the humility is intact; he remains soft-spoken. Surely, he hasn’t let success get to him.

On the threshold of what could be a prolific international career, Unmukt Chand sure knows how to keep his head on his shoulders. At least, that’s the case at the moment.

“Cricket is a game of ups and downs. The moment you stop performing you get back to the drag. And I understand that till I keep performing accolades will keep coming, else they will stop,” Unmukt told rediff.com, on the sidelines of an event to promote his book Sky is the Limit.

“With the amount of cricket played these days, it is impossible to keep performing at your best always. So, I think, cricket is a great way to stay grounded,” he added, crediting his parents for helping him stay rooted to reality.


Photographs: Bikash Mohapatra/Rediff.com

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Considering an international debut can happen any moment, is he prepared to adapt himself to the various formats and the works?

“The game is the same. It is the pressure that makes it different. It is more of the mental thing. It takes time to adjust; the earlier you learn, the better it is for you,” he explained, proceeding to cite his own example.

“For instance, under-19 has been a great experience for me, but IPL hasn’t been one of the best things to happen.

“However, I have learnt a bit in the last two-three years, and, hopefully, I will try to rectify things that went wrong. This learning curve is the best thing to happen to a cricketer.”


Photographs: Bikash Mohapatra/Rediff.com
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Bikash Mohapatra

Words of wisdom coming from a 20-year-old one may think. Didn’t we tell you the player hasn’t let success get to his head yet?

Another trait that helps the youngster remain level-headed is his habit to write.

“Writing does help me reflect back. I always believed you cannot memorize everything, so the best thing to do is to write,” he confessed, adding, “Whenever I have had any experience, good or bad, I have jotted it down so that it stays with me and I can reflect on it later.

“I feel good about it and probably that is the reason that I have been able to maintain the habit.”

It is this practice of maintaining a diary that helped him become an author even before he embarked on a career as a cricketer at the international level.

“It feels surreal that my efforts to jot things down, of writing diaries, have taken the shape of a book.

“I always wanted to write a book at some point in my career but never believed this would happen so soon.

“It’s my uncle who exhorted me to start writing. I started scribbling and things went on smoothly from then on. I have been fortunate to have supportive people around me,” admitted Unmukt.


Image: Unmukt Chand

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The book per se is not about India’s under-19 World Cup triumph Down Under – where he was captain of the team – but the efforts to ensure the same.

“The book is more about the preparation that went in ahead of the World Cup. I haven’t talked about the tournament as much as I have talked about preparations, as I feel that is something which leads you to your target. “It’s also a tribute to my team,” he explained.

While his maiden effort maybe a no holds barred account of a team’s triumph, can he be brutally honest while jotting down his thoughts in future, if he fulfills the promise he has already show as a cricketer?

Wouldn’t it be tough to describe the lean phases with sheer honesty? Would it be easy to criticize his failure, or his teammates for that matter, especially considering the fact that Indians in general don’t take to criticism very kindly?

After all, most Indian cricketers who have penned down their thoughts before him have, unlike their international counterparts, played it safe, refraining from mentioning the controversies of their times.

“In a game like cricket failures are much more than success. The ratio, I would say, is 30:70. And that is good ratio, I guess. I don’t think accepting failures is a tough thing,” reasoned Unmukt.

“If you read my diaries you will find I’m mostly talking about my failures only, and trying to find motivation from them. The best thing is to be honest to your own self.”

Having said that, the youngster did not rule out the possibility of writing another book.

“I’ll keep up with this habit of writing diaries regularly, and, if all goes well, I can probably pen down another book.”


Image: Unmukt Chand
Photographs: Ian Hitchcock / Getty Images

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