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IPL: Unmukt Chand hopes to make most of Rajasthan Royals switch

Abu Dhabi: Rajasthan Royals have always put their faith in young players rather than going for big names, including winning the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) under spin legend Shane Warne’s captaincy as a bunch of raw, talented players became battle-hardened match-winners.

Unmukt Chand, who led India to their Under-19 World Cup victory in 2012, was a part of the Delhi Daredevils squad for the last three seasons, but barely managed to make his presence felt in this format as he was consigned to the bench for the most part.

However, this year Chand is a part of the Rajasthan set-up and he is confident that another season won’t pass him by, even if Abhishek Nayar was preferred to him at the top of the order in the Royals’ first two matches of IPL-7.

“I’m very happy to be here and yes Rajasthan has given more opportunities to youngsters. So many did well in the IPL and then went to play for the country, so it is a great opportunity for me. It is a strong side with lot of all-rounders and being the part of it is an honour,” said Chand, who is expected to open with Ajinkya Rahane sooner rather than later.

Despite figuring in just 13 matches for Delhi, the 21-year-old said he had mixed emotions about his three-year stint.

“Three years I was with Delhi and I learned a lot. Initially I spent a tough time with them, with so many senior players there, but it was a learning experience. Then I played for them, sat out for them and so the emotions are mixed, you can say. But then, that’s how you learn,” said Chand, who hit the headlines by hitting an unbeaten 111 in the U-19 World Cup final against Australia in 2012.

“I had some opportunities to play but I couldn’t capitalise. It’s part of the game. As long as you are learning and good things are getting into your system, everything is fine. At times you will miss out on chances, at times you grab them. That’s how the game is.

“With the Daredevils I played at the top of the order and hopefully I can contribute up the order [for Rajasthan]. I would like to play aggressively depending on the situation. If the team needs to me to stay in a bit and then go later, that also I can do.”

Chand’s target for this season is simple — develop as a player. “I’m very clear in my mind what I need to do. I want to keep a stable and keep improving. As of now the first thing is to try and be amongst the runs,” he said.

“Being in a team with a mentor like Rahul Dravid and a captain like Shane Watson is a huge plus. There is no pressure coming from senior players like them and so it is a nice atmosphere. Everyone has made sure things remain like that. We are all on the same platform and that’s nice.”