India cricketer Unmukt Chand announced his retirement on Friday. In a long heartfelt note, the 28-year-old explained his road ahead and thanked his supporters and well-wishers. Unmukt is best known for leading the India Under-19 team to the U-19 World Cup win in 2012.
Having shone in age-group cricket, Unmukt made his IPL debut for Delhi Daredevils in 2013 before moving to Rajasthan Royals during the IPL 7 Auction. He was later picked by the Mumbai Indians in the 2015 season.
"After thinking for a while, I still could not find the perfect beginning to this letter. Writing this down brings out mixed emotions in me. I don't know how I should be feeling cause honestly I am still figuring it out. The very thought of not being able to represent my country again literally stops my heartbeat for a while. I have grown up playing cricket with just one and only dream of playing for India.
"The love for this game has been very pure for me and I am grateful to have achieved a few milestones along the way. From getting up early in the morning for training, scheduling my entire day around cricket and trying to find out ways to become a better player has always been my drive and motivation and still keeps me going as the journey is only halfway through," Unmukt wrote in a note shared on Twitter.
"I can proudly look back at my cricketing journey in India and I feel so blessed to have made a mark in a cricket-frenzied nation. Big thanks to BCCI for giving cricketers like me a platform to express and showcase our skills through so many camps, age group and senior board tournaments and the IPL. Definitely the hallmark of the biggest cricket board in the world. Personally there have been quite a few glorious moments in my cricketing journey in India. Winning the U-19 World cup for India is one of the biggest moments of my life. It was a special feeling to lift the cup as a captain and bring smiles to so many Indians across the world. I can never forget that feeling. Also, leading India A on numerous occasions and winning various bilateral and tri series are etched in my memory forever.
"I can play this game with all my heart and energy for a lifetime and more. I have always been honest to my game with my hard work and determination but sometimes things don't pan out as imagined and makes us take life changing decisions which can only be judged at the end of the journey. I am a firm believer in hard work and destiny and God has his own ways to unfold the life in front of us. He closes some doors but opens many others. It's just a matter of perspective. Being an eternal optimist, I feel the road ahead of me is going to lead me to an exciting new journey and I can add much more value to it. I feel more complete as a cricketer and a human being and I am ready to take the leap of faith and enter into a new territory and contribute my best.
"Playing amongst the best players in India and across the world has taught me a lot. I would also like to thank DDCA for giving me an opportunity so early on in my career to rub shoulders with the stalwarts of Delhi and Indian cricket. Having spent time around these legends for so many years has been instrumental in my own journey. I want to thank all my fellow players, coaches, support staff for bringing out the best in me. I will forever cherish these memories. Lastly, I would like to say that things have not been as smooth in the last few years and opportunities have been denied. Though a part of me is not at peace with the way things have unfolded in the last few years, I still choose to see the silver lining and with fond memories bid adieu to BCCI and seek better opportunities around the world."
"Cricket is a universal game and even though the means might change, the end goal is still the same -- to play cricket at the highest level. Also, a huge thanks to all my supporters and well-wishers for always carrying me in their heart. There is no better feeling than being loved and appreciated for who you are. I feel eternally blessed to have such a genuine family. Thank you, everyone. Looking forward to the next chapter...," he ended.
( With inputs from ANI )
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