When India under-19 skipper, Unmukt Chand, returned from Australia a fortnight back after winning a Colts' quadrangular series with impressive showings in the semifinal and final (90-odd and a ton), all eyes were on him at the Delhi Daredevils' nets.
Unfortunately, the nets are as far as he could get. With a batting line-up like the Daredevils' (Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor and Mahela Jayawardene), it has been tough getting a knock in the middle.
To the nets
With the senior pros shining in virtually every match, Unmukt, ignored from the core team of 16, has to make do with the nets.
Puneet Bisht, the Delhi and North Zone wicketkeeper, is another one biding his time in the nets. But the duo has found a new way to keep match-fit - they are getting back to the 'roots' by playing in the city's local tournaments. Just before the Daredevils played a double-header at home, Unmukt played in the Laxman Das tournament, slamming 69 in a winning cause.
Bisht has approached the Om Nath Sood tournament committee to be included in a match after DD return from Jaipur. Clearly, just money isn't making them happy. "We want to stay match-fit," said Bisht.
While these two have been travelling, Robin Bist, the top run-getter in Ranji this season, is not even getting to travel with DD.
On Monday, he turned up at the Om Nath Sood tournament. Abhinav Bali, North Zone's top run-getter in Ranji, made 164 against Bist's side. Bali had hit 153* a couple of days back in another tournament. Ignored by the IPL franchises, he says with a wink, "I am better off. At least I am getting opportunities to score."