Former India U-19 and India A captain Unmukt Chand on Thursday became the first India male player to sign for a Big Bash League (BBL) franchise. The 28-year-old announced his retirement from Indian cricket in August this year and moved to America after signing multi-year with Major League Cricket.
The top-order batsman will now be seen. playing alongside the likes of Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Harris and James Pattinson for the Melbourne Renegades in the BBL 2021-22 which begins from December 5.
The 28-year-old had garnered massive limelight early on in his career. The former Delhi batsman was appounted the captain of the India U-19 World Cup team in 2012. The swashbuckling right-hander was player of the match as India won the tournament final in Australia, scoring an unbeaten 111 against an Australian side including the likes of Travis Head and Ashton Turner.
Chand represented three IPL franchises - Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians and played 67 first-class in almost a decade-long domestic career. However, the talented cricketer could never make it to the senior men's Indian cricket team.
Taking a major call on his career, Unmukt Chand announced his retirement from Indian cricket on August 13 this year and moved to the US to play in the Major League Cricket. There he won player of the tournament award as his Silicon Valley Strikers won the Minor League Cricket title last month.
“I’m very excited, it’s great to be part of the Melbourne Renegades family,” Chand said after the signing.
“I’ve always followed the Big Bash and it’s a great opportunity for me to come and play some good cricket. I’m really looking forward to coming to Melbourne and to get going. I’ve always enjoyed playing in Australia. I haven’t been to Melbourne before… I know for a fact there are lots of Indians in Melbourne, so it’s going to be nice, and I hope the crowds turn up for games as well.
“I’ve always wanted to play in leagues like these and it’s great that now I have this opportunity to be representing the Renegades in the Big Bash, so for me it’s big. I really look forward to contributing as much as I can on the field. I’ll give it my best shot," he added.
Big Bash League (@BBL) November 4, 2021
Unmukt Chand will travel to Australia later this month and be available for the duration of the tournament.
“It’s great to have Unmukt on board and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do as a Renegade. He makes history as the first Indian player in the BBL, which is exciting for our club, our fans and the competition,” General Manager, James Rosengarten, said.
“We believe we’re assembling a well-rounded group, with a nice mix of experience and exciting, young talent. Our list is close to finalised, but we look forward to sharing some more exciting news with our fans in the run to the season.”
Melbourne Renegades BBL Squad: Aaron Finch (C), Cameron Boyce, Unmukt Chand, Zak Evans, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Nic Maddinson, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitchell Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Reece Topley