Unmukt Chand & Co, who returned to India on Tuesday, got a rousing reception at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The grand reception was followed by an interaction with the media and a felicitation function organised by the Indian cricket board. The players, flooded with requests for interviews and one-on-ones, were a busy lot. The day was over but the players, who had a long flight from Australia, were not tired.
The skipper addressed the media gathering with coach Bharat Arun and manager Vinod Phadke in tow.“We worked very hard for this. I am happy that we defeated Australia in Australia. I have been picked for the India A so the next target is to go to New Zealand and perform. Right now, I am enjoying the moment,” said Unmukt.
The Delhi boy is not just a graceful batsman but also a smooth speaker. Comparisons with Mahendra Singh Dhoni were obvious and Unmukt was smart in his reply. “You guys compare, we just play,” he quipped.
Ian Chappell’s recent comment that he is ready for international cricket has not gone to his head. “Right now I want to take one step at a time. At the moment I just want to perform at whatever level I am picked. I do want to play for India but that will happen in its own time.”
The team lost the first match but the captain said it was self belief that was the secret of their success. “Belief matters. We didn’t have a great start but managed to get our game together. It showed that it’s important to believe in yourself, no matter how bad the situation is. After the loss to the West Indies we were feeling a bit down, but then we managed to get back due to our talent and ability.”
The other members of the squad too basked in attention from the media and fans. “It is an unforgettable moment. Once we came out of the airport, it was unbelievable. Fans and the media were waiting. It’s a moment I will remember forever,” said left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra, also from Delhi.
For Himachal Pradesh’s Prashant Chopra, the next few days will be spent with family. “I will go back and rest. It is been a long time since I am away from the family. I am already missing them. Soon after, I will get down for the preparations of the next season.”
Mumbai’s Akhil Herwadkar, who did not get to play a single match, said he is happy to be a part of the squad. “Obviously it feels great to be on the winning side. I am not disappointed that I did not play a match, but I had a role to play in motivating others,” he said.
Meanwhile, the whole family of Harmeet Singh was there to receive him at the airport.