Unmukt Chand became the first Indian male cricketer to sign for the Big Bash League in Australia. Chand will turn up for the Melbourne Renegades, the club announced on Thursday.

Indian women’s players have competed 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 while they are still active cricketers.

It means that they need to ‘retire’ and that is exactly what Chand, who had captained India’s 2012 U19 World Cup-winning team, had done in August this year. He had then planned to play in the United States and stated that he would explore ‘better opportunities from around the world.’

And this clearly is one of those opportunities.

Chand, who made a name for himself in that U19 World Cup in Australia, said he enjoys playing Down Under and is delighted to be a part of the Renegades. The decision to ‘retire’ from Indian cricket, however, was not an easy one.

“It wasn’t easy, to be very honest, the fact that I won’t be playing for the country anymore is something that is difficult to accept,” Chand told cricket.com.au of his decision to turn his back on Indian cricket.

Chand added: “But I 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.”

Chand never played for India at the senior level but he did make it to the ‘India A’ level and has also played for Delhi, Mumbai and Rajasthan in the Indian Premier League, having debuted in the competition as an 18-year old.