Saurashtra pacer Jaydev Unadkat believes he is currently at his peak and expressed his disappointment over his non-selection in the India squads for overseas tours of Australia and England despite rich shows in domestic cricket.
India’s last Ranji Trophy season before the pandemic struck was the 2019-20 edition, which the Unadkat-led Saurashtra won. The left-arm pacer led from the front, finishing the highest wicket-taker of the season. He claimed 67 wickets from 10 matches at an average of 13.23.
Not having played first-class cricket in over a year and with no certainty due to the pandemic situation, Unadkat expressed his worries and disappointment in an interview with Sportstar.
“I expect that (selection in India team) when I am at my peak now, when I have performed the way I have, I was hoping I’ll get the call somewhere down the line. The opportunities have become… one, they have reduced because of lesser tournaments, but that has resulted in them creating a bigger pool for every series. That way, it has become an opportunity in itself.
“And not being selected in that sense has been disappointing for sure, but having said that, I’ve got to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I am not going to allow my prime to pass just like that. Now that I’ve not got that chance despite the kind of season I had, it’s up to me how to continue the same form and keep myself motivated. It’s a fact that I was the highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy. Nothing has really happened after that,” said Jaydev Unadkat, who played his only Test in 2010 as a teenager.
My form in IPL 2020 didn’t help my case: Jaydev Unadkat
Reflecting on India’s historic Australia tour, Jaydev Unadkat feels disappointed at not making the cut even after several injuries in the side. He believes his poor form for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in IPL 2020 hampered his chances of selection for the Australia Tour.
In the seven games he played for RR in 2020, Unadkat claimed just four wickets and went for almost ten runs an over, with the side finishing last in the points table.
“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 (2020) - 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,” added Unadkat.
For the upcoming England tour, India have even picked the relatively inexperienced left-arm pacer Arzan Nagwaswalla as one of the standby players. Despite picking a large 24-member squad, the selectors ignored Unadkat.
Unadkat, 29, is amongst the most successful bowlers in the Indian domestic circuit. He has 327 wickets from 89 first-class matches at 23.21. He has also been fantastic with the white ball in the T20s, claiming 182 wickets from 150 games at just over 23.
In the four matches he played for RR in the IPL 2021 last month, he picked up a three-for against Delhi Capitals (DC) that won him the Player of the Match award.