Unmukt Chand becomes first Indian man to play in BBL

Former U-19 World Cup-winning captain Unmukt Chand on Tuesday became the first Indian male cricketer to play in Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL). The right-handed batter made his debut for Melbourne Renegades against Hobart Hurricanes.

Chand is playing under Australia’s limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch which will also feature Shaun Marsh.

The 28-year-old had called time on his playing career in India last year and is plying his trade in different leagues across the globe.

Chand, a former India A skipper, had never played for the Indian senior team but was part of three IPL franchises — Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, and Rajasthan Royals. He had a domestic career spanning more than a decade, including 67 first-class matches.

Chand burst on to the international stage as a teenager in the 2012 ICC U-19 World Cup in Australia. He was player of the match in the final, scoring an unbeaten 111 against an Australian side featuring a host of now-BBL stars, including the likes of Travis Head and Ashton Turner.

In 2019, Chand moved to Uttarakhand in search of stability but left within a year after indifferent performances led to his ouster. He eventually stepped away from Indian cricket and moved to the United States of America to search for opportunities.

Meanwhile, eight Indians were picked in the last edition of Women’s Big Bash League.

T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and the second leading run-scorer in the inaugural edition of The Hundred, Jemimah Rodrigues have been signed by Melbourne Renegades.

The youngster and ICC T20I top-ranked batter, Shafali Verma was signed by Sydney Sixers along with bowler Radha Yadav.

Opener Smriti Mandhana, the one who became India’s first woman to score a century in the Pink Ball Test, and her teammate all-rounder Deepti Sharma were signed by Sydney Thunder.

Wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh was signed by Hobart Hurricanes. The eighth and the last overseas player is bowler Poonam Yadav who was signed by Brisbane Heat.

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