The U-19 World Cup winning Team India captain, Unmukt Chand, has gone through a tough time on the academic front. But the Delhi boy is now happy to have got the permission to take his exams by the Delhi University and looks forward to focusing on his education. In an interview with IBNLive, Unmukt gets candid about education, female fan following, cricket and more.
Following is the transcript of IBNLive's interview with Unmukt Chand:
IBNLive: How has life changed after the World Cup win?
Unmukt Chand: Well, everything is the same. But just that people have started recognising me now, which is a good thing. But, I guess it's really important to stay focused and not let things get on to my head. I have to keep working because there’s a lot more to come, it's still a long way to go.
IBNLive: Do you see yourself playing for Team India at the international level from here?
Unmukt Chand: I've always dreamt of that, but it's a long way to go and I have to concentrate on my under 19 tours. I have to focus on that rather than thinking of playing international cricket in the future.
IBNLive: You've had a tough time dealing with rules on the academic front. Do you think universities need to change rules for sportspersons?
Unmukt Chand: I don't really think there need to be major changes in the rules for sportspersons. But the problem is that sportspersons mostly remain absent from classes because of their tournaments, so they should be allowed to at least take the exams. I think this exemption should be given to them.
IBNLive: Some chess players and archers were recently rejected admission in a Delhi University college as they had physical fitness tests including running for qualifying. Do you think such rules are fair?
Unmukt Chand: Since I don't know the details, I would not want to comment on it. It's for the authorities to take decisions.
IBNLive: How important and necessary is it for a cricketer to get a degree?
Unmukt Chand: It depends on an individual. It's not a hard and fast rule for everyone to do this. Someone who wants a degree should get it, someone who does not want it, it's okay for him. I want a degree because for me personally, education is important.
IBNLive: If Team India comes calling, how do you plan to cover up for your academics?
Unmukt Chand: Let's see, I'll keep studying and if the dates do not clash I'll take the exams also.
IBNLive: ONGC has decided to offer you a job. How do you plan to move ahead with that?
Unmukt Chand: I haven't thought about it yet. I'll take to my parents and come to a conclusion.
IBNLive: On a lighter note, you now have a lot of female fans. Your reaction to the attention?
Unmukt Chand: It's not something new for me. I always had a lot of female friends anyways. But obviously, people recognise me, so it feels good. I don't mind waving here and there.
IBNLive: But it's not just the friends, there's a bigger female fan following now.
Unmukt Chand: It feels good. It's okay, I'm happy about it (laughs).
IBNLive: You've been compared to young players of Team India like Virat Kohli. How do you take the comparison?
Unmukt Chand: I don't think I can be compared to Virat as he's been playing for India fantastically for the past 2-3 years now. Comparisons are normal, but it's important for me to stay focused and keep performing so that I can also achieve that level. Probably, this is not the right time to compare me to anyone.
IBNLive: Who is your idol? Anyone you particularly follow in cricket?
Unmukt Chand: I don't copy anyone specifically, but yes, Sachin has been my idol, I've grown up watching him bat. Of late, the way Virat has been playing has also been really inspirational.
IBNLive: I'm sure your fans would want to know what is Unmukt doing when not playing cricket?
Unmukt Chand: I'm either with my books, writing or reading or I'm with my friends. I like hanging out, mostly in Connaught Place and Noida. I like having house parties. And what else do I do? I'm actually very busy at the moment, I keep going from one place to another.
IBNLive: I won't take much of your time then. Any message for your fans?
Unmukt Chand: An inspirational message that have a vision in life, keep working towards it. Keep working hard, be patient and things will fall in place automatically. Have faith in yourself and enjoy whatever you’re doing.