"it’s great to be part of the Melbourne Renegades family."
Unmukt Chand has joined the Melbourne Renegades as an overseas player, making him the first Indian man to play in Australia’s T20 Big Bash League (BBL).
While a number of Indian women have played in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), a male Indian cricketer has never featured in the tournament before.
This is due to BCCI rules stating that any Indian player is not allowed to play in a franchise tournament outside the country.
As a result, there have been players in the past being forced to withdraw from competitions.
Harbhajan Singh had to withdraw from the draft for The Hundred due to his IPL deal with the Chennai Super Kings.
Irfan Pathan received a warning after he entered the Caribbean Premier League draft.
But Unmukt Chand has been able to join the BBL because he quit Indian cricket in 2020 to pursue opportunities in the United States.
The former India U-19s captain moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and joined the Silicon Valley Strikers in the US Minor League Cricket T20 competition.
In that competition, the 28-year-old scored 612 runs. This prompted the Melbourne Renegades to sign him up.
Chand said: “I’m very excited, it’s great to be part of the Melbourne Renegades family.
“I’ve always followed the Big Bash and it’s a great opportunity for me to come and play some good cricket.
“I’m really looking forward to coming to Melbourne and to get going. I’ve always enjoyed playing in Australia.
“I haven’t been to Melbourne before.
“I know for a fact there are lots of Indians in Melbourne, so it’s going to be nice, and I hope the crowds turn up for games as well.
“I’ve always wanted to play in leagues like these and it’s great that now I have this opportunity to be representing the Renegades in the Big Bash, so for me it’s big.
“I really look forward to contributing as much as I can on the field. I’ll give it my best shot.”
Big news… @UnmuktChand9 ?
The former India A and India U19 captain is officially a Renegade!#GETONRED
— Melbourne Renegades (@RenegadesBBL) November 4, 2021
Chand’s deal could encourage other Indian cricketers to follow a similar path.
Renegades head coach David Saker said:
“We’re delighted to have Unmukt joining the Renegades and see him being an important part of our group.”
“He brings a wealth of cricket experience.
“To have a player joining our team who has represented three IPL teams and led his country at ‘A’ and Under 19 level is fantastic.
“As a batter, Unmukt is dynamic and can change games quickly.
“He has spent much of his career at the top of the order, but we believe he has the flexibility to fill a variety of roles as we need.”