Saurashtra's prince is Indian team's pauper

Saurashtra's prince is Indian team's pauper

Jaydev Unadkat.

January 13 was just another day in the office for Jaydev Unadkat. The seasoned Saurashtra pacer, one of the most consistent performers on the domestic circuit over the last five years, gave another demonstration of his superb red-ball skills.

Moving it both ways and landing the red cherry in the same area ball after ball and over after over, southpaw Unadkat floored Karnataka with his brilliance on a surface with nothing on offer for the quicks. The 5/49 effort, his third five-wicket haul of this Ranji Trophy season in just his fourth game, was an attestation of his innate skills and talent. A haul of 281 wickets in 82 completed first-class games at an average of 24.70 is no mean achievement, considering majority of the games are played on spin-friendly surfaces.

Yet, for all his domestic accomplishments, Unadkat somehow has not been able to find a regular place in the national side. He made his Test debut as a teenage sensation way back in December 2010 against South Africa. But he went wicketless and that remained his only game in whites for the country. In July 2013, he boarded the plane to Zimbabwe for an ODI series and a game in Kochi against the West Indies that November was his last 50-over outing. His T20I career too is short-lived, lasting a mere 10 matches, last of it being in March 2018.

Although the 28-year-old has not grabbed his India chances with both hands, his showing on the domestic circuit does merit a consistent run. Unadkat, though, is not hurt that he isn't given a long rope — a luxury seemingly afforded to talented batsmen but not so much for bowlers. “I just saw a statistic where I had the best strike rate among bowlers in the country in the last six years. I’ve been wanting to prove that I’m at that level. I’ve been dropped from the side (India) a few times and now I think I’m at the peak of my career,” revealed Unadkat in a chat on Monday.

“If I am not picked, I am not a guy who will keep cribbing about it. I instead will think about things that I have to improve so that I don’t give them a chance to drop me from the team. So many people have been telling me these things that it would have been good for me had I been given a consistent run but again I am guy who cannot think like that. I will always think that if they drop me, there must be one thing that I can work on, improve and again prove that I was always good enough. That has been my mindset which has been helping me to do well and I’m going to stick to that.”

The competition for pacers in the Indian team is currently at an all-time high but Unadkat has not given up on his international aspirations. “I’m not saying I’ve taken this many wickets in domestic circuit and I have to be there (in the Indian team). It’s about whenever an opportunity arises, I have to be right up there. It may so happen that I have a couple of bad games and opportunity arises. It’s all in my hands, keep the form going. I’m inspired by watching the spells of the current Indian pacers. The way the guys have been bowling, there has not been a better Indian pace attack.”

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