Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar released Unmukt Chand’s book “The Sky Is The Limit – My Journey To The World Cup”
The large amount of travelling for Under-19 cricketers and international and national tournament experience has helped India produce high quality young cricketers, said ace cricketer Rahul Dravid.
In Delhi, to release Unmukt Chand’s book ‘The Sky Is The Limit – My Journey To The World Cup’ along with veteran cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, Dravid said, referring to Unmukt, “Look at the number of matches he would have played right from the time he was 12,” and added that Unmukt and other young cricketers have been attending camps, clinics and playing tournaments at the zonal and state levels and Under-15, Under-16 and Under-19, which has helped them develop match-winning skills.
Dravid along with Manjrekar released Unmukt’s book which has been published by Penguin Books India Ltd, at a formal launch at the India International Centre, November 30. “The Sky Is The Limit – My Journey To The World Cup” is an autobiographical account of Unmukt’s intense and long association with cricket, right from his childhood days and draws heavily from his meticulously maintained diary notes.
Dravid, who has been nicknamed ‘The Wall’ for his unwavering focus which did not allow bowlers to get past him admitted that the pressure on Unmukt at a young age of 19, when he won the World Cup was intense. “It is a pressure at 19. He is a household name,” Dravid said. “Today people have come here to listen to him. He has agents, he has written a book!”
Dravid appreciated Unmukt’s curious and seeking attitude, referring especially to the preparatory camp where Dravid had been invited to talk to the young players before they embarked on their World Cup tour. “Usually you get standard questions. But Unmukt was asking these really intelligent questions. The quality of questioning he subjected me to made me curious about his book,” Dravid said. He also made a special mention of the young champion’s “underlying respect” towards senior players as he was insisting on calling Dravid “Sir”.
“We dominate the world stage (at the Under-19 level) as they (the youngsters) played a lot more cricket,” Dravid said, emphasizing that the sheer number of matches and the phenomenal exposure breeds competitive spirit in the players right from the beginning.
Manjrekar remarked that during the Under-19 World Cup the Indian players “looked more at home on those bouncy pitches than the Australians”, emphasizing that the intense exposure and preparation of the Indian players with a series of tournaments preceding the big tournaments worked in their favour.
Both Sanjay Manjrekar and Rahul Dravid agreed that the quality of cricketers Delhi has been producing lately has been remarkable. Cricket players today are much more confident and sure from a very young age.
“He (Unmukt) called me and I didn’t take his call as I didn’t have his number. But then he sent me a text saying, “I am Unmukt Chand and I request you to be present during my book launch”. I liked the fact that he had no fear despite I didn’t know him. I have noticed that these young cricketers have no fear of anything,” said Manjrekar.
Referring to what he called his ‘Maharashtrian middle class mindset’ Manjrekar said, in a humorous tone that he used to hesitate often before deciding to hit a shot, thinking “shot maaroon ya na maaroon.” Dravid agreed, quipping, “10 minute tak sochte hain ki shot marenge ki nahin, aur kab marenge. Woh bhi doosre end par!”
Dravid and Manjrekar were both of the view that the young mindset today is to go out there and hit the ball. “Too much intensity and thinking about the game can make you get completely consumed by the game,” warned Dravid.
Dravid’s advice to Unmukt and all young players was straight and simple – “only way to earn respect at the Under-19 level is to score runs.” Referring to the “legends” he has played with “Kumble, Laxman, Ganguly, Sachin”, Dravid said, “irrespective of what was happening to them” in their life, achieving runs was their sole focus. “Look after your runs and life will look after itself,” he advised. Agreed Manjrekar, “Focus should be about runs. Get obsessed.”
“Virat (Kohli) has been a huge influence for me,” Unmukt said. He said playing with Virender Sehwag and Shikhar Dhawan in the Ranji Trophy matches and IPL helped him learn a lot, as such tournaments help players “feed off each other”.
Speaking later to Learning & Creativity, Manjrekar said, “Writing helps you to register the thoughts. However, it is a rare habit to find in cricketers. You have people like Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, Unmukt who do write but it is very rare. But it is definitely an advantage.”
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