Kunal Chandela has come of age as a batsman. From scoring three half-centuries to scoring his maiden century in Ranji Trophy cricket, Chandela has been a real find for Delhi this season. But the 23-year-old has no intentions of playing cricket just to be picked for the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). Chandela has set his eyes to play for India and if he keeps his head in the right place, there is no reason why he can't make it. His temperament to bat for long hours has come for praise but wouldn't it hamper his chances to get an IPL team. "I don't play cricket with an intention of being picked for an IPL team. You dream to play for India and if you do well, you can also play IPL," a confident Chandela said.
There was a time in 1970s when Vizzy Trophy (Inter-Zone University) was considered as a stepping stone towards getting a look in for the state team and even national side.
From Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar of Bombay and West Zone University to Bishan Bedi of North Zone, college cricket was in vogue in late 60's till 80's.
In Delhi, the Hindu vs Stephens game was a prestigious battle with all top Delhi cricketers appearing for their respective colleges but college cricket took a backseat in the 90s.
Chandela is a refreshing change of what has been the template of a Delhi cricketer.
"I have benefited a lot from University cricket. I have heard how past greats of Delhi cricket have emerged from University cricket. My selection in Delhi Ranji Trophy has been on basis of back to back Vizzy Trophy triple tons. You learn to play day's game from Vizzy Trophy," 23-year-old Chandela said after the match.
Studying BSC (IT) from Hembati Nandan Bahuguna University (Garhwal), Chandela had to miss his fifth semester exam due to Ranji Trophy commitments.
"I had my exams on 20th but I had to skip it. I take time out to study and attend lectures when I get time," he said. He believes time spent in boarding school in Dehradun has helped him become more self-reliant.
"I studied my 9th and 10th standard at Indian Public School where Rishabh Pant was my junior in boarding school. My childhood coach has been Manoj Rawat," the son of an electrical contractor said.
He thanked Gautam Gambhir for his constant support.
"Gautam bhaiyya told me to play the way I know the best. He told me to remain free while batting. When I tried a sweep shot, he told that since I am hitting well straight, I don't need to play across," he added.
(With PTI Inputs)