New Delhi: At a time when India is hunting for talented cricketers to keep a steady flow to meet the demands of a packed international calendar, the Toyota University Cricket Champions seems to be making the right impression among India’s top cricketers. One of them is India’s rising star, Unmukt Chand.
In an exclusive chat with NDTV, India's World Cup-winning Under-19 captain lauded the initiative, a joint venture by NDTV and the HRD ministry. The TUCC, starting February 23, has the backing of Board of Control for Cricket in India and Association of Indian Universities. It will be a T20 championship.
Extremely appreciative of the concept, Unmukt feels university cricket has been neglected for some time now and needs a big fillip.
"It is a great initiative by NDTV. University Cricket had been ignored for 4-5 years and it is high time that it returns with a bang," said the jovial Delhi youngster.
An extension of the all-India inter-university Rohinton Baria Tournament, TUCC will feature the top eight university teams selected from the four zones. The debutants will be Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Mumbai University, Jiwaji University, University of Madras and Jain University.
As a college goer, Unmukt knows the value the TUCC will create among University students. A student at the prestigious St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, Unmukt has played for Delhi at all age-group levels before graduating to the Ranji Trophy level. He is now a vital cog in the Delhi Daredevils squad in the Indian Premier League.
"Sports must catch the focus of the Universities. The TUCC will be a great eye-opener. The energy levels will be very high and the teams will really go all out to impress everyone. And since it's on television, the boys will feel like stars," said the charismatic Unmukt.
He concluded saying, "Cricket and in general sports have not been the focus for the past few years. I hope and wish that changes now. The University cricket championship will be a step in the right direction."