Unmukt Chand is to become the first Indian male cricketer to play in Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) after signing the batsman for the 2021-2022 season starting next month. The 28-year-old former Indian Premier League (IPL) player will join the Melbourne Renegades for the Twenty20 competition in Australia, the club announced on Thursday. “It’s great to have Unmukt on board and we look forward to seeing what he can do as a Renegade,” said Melbourne Rosegarten manager Melbourne Rosegarten.
“He is making history as the first Indian player in the BBL, which is exciting for our club, our fans and the competition,” Rosengarten added.
Chand has represented three IPL franchises during his career – Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals – and also captain of India A and India U19.
Coach David Saker said Chand would bring a wealth of cricket experience to the Renegades.
“As a batsman, Unmukt is dynamic and can change games quickly,” said Saker.
“He has spent a large part of his career at the top of the order, but we believe he has the flexibility to fulfill a variety of roles as we need to,” he added.
While Indian women players are allowed to play in overseas local leagues, the country’s male international and local players are banned from doing so.
Chand retired from Indian cricket earlier this year and has since played in the United States with the Silicon Valley Strikers.
He said the Australia move was an opportunity to play good cricket – and hopefully in front of Indian fans.
“I know for a fact that there are a lot of Indians in Melbourne, so it’s going to be fun, and I hope the crowd shows up for matches too,” he said.
“I am really looking forward to contributing as much as I can on the field. I will give my best chance,” he added.
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