High. Low. Peak. Low. High again. Rockbottom. If you had to write about Unmukt Chand’s career in a few words, that’s how you can explain.
Honourable outings, Memorable mentions, but then there have been bizarre blows, so much so that it had left a permanent shadow on his best days. In between the “next big thing” and whats-whys, Chand’s career became a funny one-liner when it was supposed to be a successful book. Now, don’t get that wrong. One-liners works well too. In many cases, it keeps you going, but for Chand, it didn’t happen.
Not every “next big things” make it. They get distracted. In cricket, distraction comes as a free package. The media, exposure, IPL, money and the list go on. Chand, however, was never really into all of these. He wanted to be there, but he kept over-doing it.
There was a Pepsi advertisement years ago, where he would peek inside the Indian senior team wearing a blue T-shirt. Lesser did one knew that it was the closest he would come to the senior team. Till the end of his career, he kept peeking from a long distance, sometimes, closer.
When the advertisement came out, expecting him to do wonders was more of a routine. There wasn’t a single official who doubted his talent.
This definitely had a lot to do with the 2008 batch. That batch was just too good to be true. Thus, everyone expected the very next batch to be like them. However, only Hanuma Vihari and Sandeep Sharma jumped challenges to get into the senior team.
If Kohlis or any other superstar came just like that, they wouldn’t be a superstar in the first place. There is more to just talent and mindset.
Of course, Chand had the talent. He did practice hard, but there was one more thing. Unfortunately, he couldn’t come out of the negative loop that was going around and within.
His Shilly-shallys while striking was one main reason. He had all the shots in the bag but never knew when to use them. When he learnt it, his mind failed to cooperate with the body. A couple of injuries that followed added the fuel to the fire.
On the other hand, he saw the leather ball as if it was the ball made of wool yarn with every single thread representing his thoughts, and none of them was colourful but was either white or black.
Some days, the white worked well. Literally every single day in the 2015-16 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season, but whenever it was White-dominated, the expectations on him grew. The black grew darker.
It was the fight between Ying and Yang but mostly inside his head. He understands it better than anyone else. After all, he was super spiritual.
Unmukt Chand was always a half-glass full person. When he was failing, he looked around for inspiration, and he found Shikhar Dhawan. The latter had a lot of failures before becoming a mainstay. This was the kind of motivation that kept him going. In fact, they both had the same spiritual guru. At the end of the day, it was finding the peace or making one. Chand has realized the way to do that.
Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt Chand will go on a different track now, showing there is more to life than just cricket. There is more to cricket than just Indian cricket. He will realize his dream of wearing blue but this time, the shade will be different.
With this, Unmukt Chand will have the time and opportunity to become that successful book he always wanted to be. This might go either way, but hey, at least he tried.