Unmukt Chand Becomes the First Indian Male to Play in BBL

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India’s former U-19 World Cup-winning captain Unmukt Chand on Tuesday created history by becoming the first Indian male cricketer to play Australia’s T20 Big Bash League (BBL). He made his debut for Melbourne Renegades against Hobart Hurricanes at the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne.  

“The new colors suit you, @UnmuktChand9,” Renegades tweeted. However, the right-hander had an underwhelming debutant performance where he made only 6 runs after facing 8 deliveries.

“Unmukt Chand is IN and the boys are ready for the ‘Cane challenge. We’ll be bowling first. #GETORNED,” read another tweet by Melbourne Renegades.

Chand is currently playing under Australia’s limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch. Melbourne Renegades made four changes to their playing XI ahead of the match. Chand was made a part of the playing XI along with Zak Evans, Mitch Perry and James Seymour.

Under Chand’s leadership, India’s U-19 team won the ICC World Cup in 2012 in Australia. In the finals, he was crowned with the title of the player of the match after scoring an unbeaten 111 against the host Australian side.

Last year in August, he stepped down from all forms of Indian cricket which made him eligible to take part in different leagues all across the world.

The 28-year old had never been a part of the Indian senior team. However, he had the experience of playing for IPL franchises. He had been a part of three IPL franchises including Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. His domestic career spanned over a decade wherein he had played 67 first-class matches.

In 2019, Chand became a part of the Uttarakhand team but left within a year following his indifferent performances. He eventually decided to retire from Indian cricket and moved to the United States in search of better opportunities. 

On the other hand, Eight Indians featured in last year’s Women’s Big Bash League. T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues have been picked up by Melbourne Renegades. 

Sydney Sixers signed ICC T20I top-ranked batter Shaflai Verma along with bowler Radha Yadav. Opener Smriti Mandhana and all-rounder Deepti Sharma were signed by Sydney Thunder. Wicket-keeper Richa Ghosh and bowler Poonam Yadav were signed to play for Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat respectively.   

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