Just days after leading the India Under-19 cricket team to World Cup victory that made him a hero, Unmukt Chand faced the prospect of losing a year in college here due to low attendance.
As India captain M S Dhoni and Sports Minister Ajay Maken rallied behind him, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal spoke to Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh and is understood to have said that the cricketer's case should be considered favourably since it is within his purview.
Delhi University rules mandate a student to have at least 33.3 per cent attendance in an academic session after all exemptions, but 19-year-old Unmukt, a first year BA student of St Stephen's college, could not attend required number of classes owing to his cricketing engagements.
While the cricketer's case is in the Delhi High Court, St Stephen's Principal Valson Thampu said it is up to the University administration to decide as it is a matter of the varsity's rules of attendance.
Unmukt was denied an admit card for the second semester examination in May but the court intervened and asked the college to allow him to sit for the exams.
However, he could appear only in two out of four papers as by the time the court ruling came he had already missed two. His results, and hence promotion, have been withheld pending the court proceedings.
"I spoke to my sports teacher and the Principal and they are willing to help me out in the next semester," Unmukt said.
"We never thought such a thing could happen to Unmukt. The matter should have been resolved without appealing. It should have been solved in an amicable atmosphere," said his father Bharat Chand, a school teacher.
Sibal is understood to have said that Chand's case should be considered favourably which is within the purview of the Vice Chancellor as the cricketer has brought glory to the country, HRD Ministry officials said.
"I think, it's totally unfair. The University and college authorities instead of disallowing him from exams should find a way out for such sportspersons. I don't think that this is the right way and I intend to take up the issue with the Delhi university and also with his college," said Maken.
"Marks for sports takes back seat, attendance for now takes centrestage. This shows how much importance sports has in INDIA. Sad to hear," Dhoni wrote on his Twitter page.