NEW DELHI: Unmukt Chand, captain of India’s victorious Under-19 World Cup team in 2012 when he smashed a century, has become the latest out-of-favour player from South Asia and beyond to decamp to the US.

Chand, now 28, drew comparisons with Virat Kohli but never broke into the adult national side as his form faded. Some commentators criticised India’s domestic cricket set-up for failing to nurture him.

The batsman has signed for the Silicon Valley Strikers “to support the development of the game... by playing with and mentoring the next generation of American cricketers”, Major League Cricket said on Friday.

He was due to make his debut on Saturday against the Social Lashings in Morgan Hill, California, coinciding with the third weekend of the Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship.

The Twenty20 tournament is the most extensive US competition to date, with 27 teams playing 218 matches in 21 cities for record prize money of $250,000, Major League Cricket said.

In an emotional statement posted on social media, Chand said “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 unfolded... I still choose to see the silver lining and with fond memories bid adieu to the [Indian cricket board] BCCI and seek better opportunities around the world.”

Other players who have fallen out of favour of their national sides and who have moved the US in recent times include Corey Anderson of New Zealand, Sri Lankan Shehan Jayasuriya, Pakistan’s Sami Aslam and Xavier Marshall of the West Indies, who has played for the US.

Published in Dawn, August 15th , 2021

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