For a coach, it is as difficult to compare two of his favourite students as it is for a parent to discriminate between kids but Sanjay Bhardwaj feels that India U-19 captain Unmukt Chand is a better talent than his other illustrious ward Gautam Gambhir.
"Unmukt is certainly more talented than what Gautam was at his age. While Unmukt is a mixture of talent and hardwork, Gautam was all sweat. If you see Unmukt's career graph, his biggest plus is grabbing every major opportunity with both hands. Gautam had to struggle and fight a lot more than Unmukt," Bhardwaj said on Monday.
"I can only thank God that he chose me as guide for Gautam and Unmukt. It's their talent that has made me look good as a coach and not the other way round. I have only groomed and fine tuned a few mental aspects of the game. It's their dedication that has taken them where they are right now," Bhardwaj said.
Asked about what are Unmukt's chances of making it to senior team, Bhardwaj replied, "By early 2013, Unmukt should be in the senior team. Obviously, he would have to perform well but he has the talent and willpower to do well," the coach said.
According to Bhardwaj, in a sport like cricket, it helps if a cricketer has a solid family background which helped both Gambhir and Unmukt.
"Unmukt's mentor was his uncle who is now in Mumbai. He brought Unmukt when he was only 12 years old. He was a disciplined boy then and is very obedient even now. He is firmly rooted to the ground. He has studied in posh school and is now in a renowned college but he has never shown any outrageous qualities like teenagers of his age. His kitbag has books other than cricket gears."
Bhardwaj didn't forget to mention that parents of aspiring cricketers should never ignore education.
"I see a lot of parents coming with bagful of money and requests to make their sons like Gautam or Unmukt. I tell them that I was just a medium of fine-tuning their talent as they had the basic talent that many don't have. So just don't become a cricketer but also study hard. I couldn't become a cricketer, so I studied hard to become a coach," he concluded.