Renegades sign the BBL's first ever Indian player

Renegades sign the BBL's first ever Indian player

Unmukt Chand signs for the Melbourne Renegades, becoming the first Indian male to play for a Big Bash club

Indian women's players have long played in domestic leagues around the world, including the Women's Big Bash League, but India's international and domestic male players are currently not permitted to play in competitions abroad.

But Chand, a 28-year-old opening batter, retired from Indian cricket earlier this year to play in the United States, meaning he is free to play in the BBL and other domestic leagues.

"It wasn't easy, to be very honest, the fact that I won't be playing for the country any more is something that is difficult to accept," Chand said of his decision to turn his back on Indian cricket. 

"But I am enjoying playing for the US, it's been getting better every day.

"And I can now play all the leagues around the world, that's a great opportunity for me personally.

"I've loved watching the Big Bash and players around the world coming in ... it's a great platform and I always wanted to play there.

"I'm really looking forward in the coming years that I can make a name for myself and hopefully win championships for the teams I play for.

"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 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."

While Chand was never capped at senior international level for India, he did play for India A and captained their Under-19 side in the 2012 World Cup, scoring a century in the final against an Australian side featuring the likes of Travis Head and Ashton Turner.

He has also played for Delhi, Mumbai and Rajasthan in the Indian Premier League, having debuted in the competition as an 18-year old.

At Delhi, Chand opened the batting alongside Renegades teammate Aaron Finch, and shared a dressing room with Kane Richardson at Rajasthan, while at Mumbai he was coached by Ricky Ponting as the club won an IPL trophy.

"He brings a wealth of cricket experience," coach David Saker said of Chand.

"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."

It remains to be seen if Chand's decision means other Indian players will look to come to the BBL, although Indian cricketers require clearance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"I hope the BCCI can get together with the ICC or with franchises and allow players who don't have BCCI contracts to play in overseas leagues," Raina said on social media last year.

"Yusuf (Pathan), myself, Robin Uthappa – a lot of quality players (could) ... go overseas and learn a lot.

"We aren't in the BCCI contracts list, some of us don't have IPL contracts. We aren't playing international cricket, and the competition in domestic cricket isn't what it is at the international level."

Chand is the second international the Renegades have announced in two days after Reece Topley, the 201cm left-arm quick who has been called up to England's T20 World Cup squad, was confirmed on Wednesday.

Melbourne Renegades BBL|11 squad (so far): Cameron Boyce, Unmukt Chand (India), Zak Evans, Aaron Finch (c), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Nic Maddinson, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Reece Topley (ENG).

Renegades sign the BBL's first ever Indian player