‘Unmukt must make opening count or join queue at the end’

Delhi come into the seventh round match against Maharashtra on the back of successive defeats and with qualification hopes slipping away steadily. For opener Unmukt Chand, memories of lifting the U-19 World Cup and having his photos splashed across newspapers less than four months back, must already appear distant.

It is not that he has had a poor season. Chand has scored a hundred and two fifties and averages 38.77, but both those fifties could have been converted into big scores. Against Baroda he made 51 on a track where just 17 wickets fell over four days and seven fifties and four hundreds were scored in total. In the game against Haryana, Chand got out playing a flashy shot on 83. From both these games put together, Delhi got a single point.

Having gotten himself an opening with his U-19 heroics, the iron is hot and it is time for Chand to convert those starts and make his strikes, according to coach Vijay Dahiya.

"In India, the queue system is very helpful in realising many things. Unmukt should now forget what he did in his U-19 days and should start thinking of himself as a senior Delhi player. This season is very important for him. Even if he scores three hundreds, it will make a much stronger impression than anyone who probably would score five. But once you lose that chance, you don't realise it, but you have to join the queue at the end," he said.

Still in his teens, Chand is into his third Ranji season, but has only two hundreds against the seven fifties he has scored. This is something he will soon have to turn around. "I know the Haryana knock could have been a hundred but that is something I learn from each innings. I hope I do really well in the last two matches," Chand said.

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