IPL 2019: Can Jaydev Unadkat live up to his high billing this season?
The IPL auctions can be deceptive. Chris Gayle, somebody tailor-made for T20s, was almost unsold for IPL 2018. On the other hand Jaydev Unadkat, the most expensive player in the last edition, was picked up by Rajasthan Royals this year again for 8.5 crore.
Gayle went on to score 368 runs in 11 matches in 2018, including an unbeaten century against Sunrisers Hyderabad. And Unadkat did little to justify his price as he could manage only 11 wickets in 15 matches.
It goes without saying then, that this time the left arm pacer absolutely has to prove his worth.
The 27-year-old from Gujarat is not new to the limelight. He rose to prominence when he spearheaded the Indian bowling attack in the 2010 ICC Under-19 World Cup. He finished with 8 wickets in 4 matches.
He made his IPL debut in 2010 itself with the Kolkata Knight Riders and picked up 4 wickets in 3 matches. Unadkat then made his way into the Indian team which toured South Africa later that year. He played a Test and remained wicketless while giving away a lot of runs.
That must have been demoralizing for the youngster, who also played 7 ODIs after making his debut against Zimbabwe in 2013. But he could manage only 8 wickets at a bowling average of 26.12.
He has played 10 T20Is and scalped 14 wickets.
But the good thing about Unadkat is that he has remained a consistent performer at the domestic level. In 76 first class games he boasts of 251 wickets while in 84 List A games, Unadkat has picked up 116 wickets.
In the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season Unadkat, who captained the Saurashtra team, led by example as he bagged 39 wickets in 14 innings at an average of 17.17. His leadership abilities too were appreciated as he guided his team to the final.
In IPL, Unadkat's performances have improved gradually over the years even as he has played for as many as 5 franchises so far. His best performance came in the 2017 edition when he picked up 24 wickets in 12 matches while wearing the Rising Pune Supergiant jersey.
That year he was the second highest wicket-taker behind Bhuvneshwar Kumar of Sunrisers Hyderabad, who got 26 wickets. So it made sense when Rajasthan Royals bought him at the IPL 2018 auction for a whopping 11.5 crore.
But he fared poorly the very next season, with a dismal average of 44.18. Still, the Royals have reposed faith in the left-arm pacer for this year's edition of IPL, notwithstanding his underwhelming performance.
It's now or never for Unadkat, He HAS to to deliver.
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