Jaydev Unadkat: Consistent performances in domestic cricket have kept the Indian pacer hopeful of a national comeback after three years.
Rajasthan Royals pacer Jaydev Unadkat considers the now-postponed Indian Premier League 2021 to be a “good season” after a “mixed bag” last year where players were unsure about their next competitive tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been a mixed bag but IPL 2021 was good. I started off well and was bowling well as well. But yes, it’s been a confusing season or a year anyway with all that’s been going on. The domestic tournaments were good. We did well as a team and I also did well,” Unadkat was quoted as saying by Sportstar.
Leading Saurashtra to the quarter-final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Unadkat had picked eight wickets in six matches at an economy and strike rate of 5.88 and 40.5 respectively. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier this year, Unadkat’s six wickets had come at 9.05 and 19.3.
Unadkat, the last of whose 18 international matches across formats had come during the Nidahas Trophy in 2018, revealed that he doesn’t get frustrated to the extent of calling selectors with respect to ignorance for national selection.
“I haven’t reached that level of frustration, for sure. As I look at it, it’s not now or never for me. When I say I am at my peak, it’s still four or five years more to remain at my peak. I am 29 and because I made my debut so early , people regard me that I am older than I am. I was a teenager when I made my Test debut a decade ago so I still have a lot of time, so I am not that frustrated, for sure,” Unadkat said.
Jaydev Unadkat admits to having eyes on Indian squad for Sri Lanka tour
While the aforementioned white-ball numbers have it in them to improve for a bowler of Unadkat’s skills, he was the highest wicket-taker in the last Ranji Trophy season picking a record 67 wickets at an average and strike rate of 13.23 and 28.2 respectively which included seven five-wicket hauls.
Despite becoming the highest wicket-taker in a Ranji season among fast bowlers, Unadkat wasn’t considered for selection during the tour of Australia and now for the tour of England. In the absence of first-choice bowlers in Australia, Unadkat didn’t feel shy from expressing disappointment for not getting a chance because he “deserved” one.
“Even during the Australia tour, with the amount of injuries that were happening, it became disappointing afterwards. To start with, maybe because I didn’t have a great IPL  and what they look for is current form. It was T20 cricket in IPL but it was going to be red-ball cricket Down Under, but nowadays they look at current form more than the format.
“Since there wasn’t much cricket happening back then, there was no Ranji Trophy this season, that way to start with, I felt [exclusion from] Australia tour was fine because everyone was fit in the main squad. But later on, [looking at] those who got chances, I felt I deserved one. Now for the England tour, I was hoping for it. As simple as that.
“I have been honest in the past when I have said that the guys who are at the top are doing well so I have to wait for my chance. This time around, I have been honestly disappointed. I’ll still take the disappointment positively to motivate myself to do better. That’s all I can do,” Unadkat added.
When you are able to harness the anger & pain into motivation, you will be unbeatable!
— Jaydev Unadkat (@JUnadkat) May 2, 2021
With India set to tour Sri Lanka for a white-ball series under a new captain, Unadkat remains hopeful of getting a comeback into the national team although in formats other than Test cricket. “If the Sri Lanka tour comes up for me, it’ll be nice,” Unadkat mentioned.