Sami Aslam, who quit Pakistan cricket last year to pursue a career in USA, has revealed that Unmukt Chand is one among multiple Indians all set to play cricket in the United States. Chand, a former U19 World Cup winning captain, last represented Uttarakhand in the Ranji Trophy in 2019/20.
Unmukt Chand’s stay as a top-bracket cricketer in India might be over but there could yet be light at the end of the tunnel for the former U19 World Cup-winning skipper. Chand, who last played in the IPL in 2016 and even dropped a level in domestic cricket to represent Uttarakhand, is allegedly in line to play cricket in the USA, and could potentially feature in the Major League Cricket (MLC) T20 competition set to kick off in 2022.
According to Sami Aslam, the Pakistan opener who in 2020 pulled off a rebel move by moving to the USA, Chand is among multiple Indian cricketers who arrived in the USA recently, in the hope of pursuing a cricketing career in the country.
“30 or 40 foreign players have arrived in America recently. A few former Under-19 Indian players have also arrived, including Unmukt Chand, Smit Patel and Harmeet Singh,” Aslam told Pakpassion.net.
“There are many players from South Africa over here now who have played a lot of First-class cricket in their homeland. Former New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson is also here. The set-up and system are very impressive and well structured. USA Cricket is really putting in a huge effort to improve cricket in America and to move it forward. It will take time for them to reach the higher levels, but the standard of cricket in America is improving fast.”
Apart from the quality of the players involved, Aslam also revealed that there are world-class coaches being employed.
“There are trainers and good coaches also out here, some of whom have previously worked in the Indian Premier League. J Arunkumar is the USA Head Coach and he was formerly the Kings XI Punjab’s batting coach in the 2017 IPL season. He has also coached in the Ranji Trophy and he’s an excellent coach.
“There are tournaments regularly held around the country and leagues are played at weekends, so there’s quite a lot of cricket being played.”
Aslam made the move to the US in 2020, and it came to a shock as many as he was, at the time of quitting Pakistan cricket, just 24 years of age. The opener, who represented Pakistan in 13 Tests, however, asserted that he has ‘no regrets’ in leaving his country of birth and attested that he now aims to represent the US National Team in international cricket.
“Not even 1% regret. I am really happy to be out here in America after being depressed in Pakistan for 2 years. I was in a bad place due to the coaches and events in Pakistan and the way they treated me. I have absolutely no regrets at all and I am very pleased with life at the moment.
“That is the direction and plan, yes (to play international cricket for USA). There is no point looking back now at what might have been. I was initially given a 3-year contract by USA Cricket. Some people felt that I would have to work in addition to playing cricket, but that is not the case, the contract is just to play cricket.
“There is a 3-year eligibility criteria and after that I will qualify to play for America in November 2023. I have also started the process of obtaining a green card and that will enable my family to come to America too.”