Indian pacer Jaydev Unadkat has been a domestic stalwart for Saurashtra cricket and has performed consistently for them over the past decade. As a lanky 19-year-old, he made his Test debut for India in South Africa way back in 2010.
However, he hasn't played Test cricket ever since, and is constantly knocking on the door of selectors through his performances. The Saurashtra skipper brilliantly led his team to the title in the Ranji Trophy 2019-20 season, picking up an incredible 67 wickets.
Quite a few eyebrows were raised as even that incredible performance didn't earn Jaydev Unadkat a place in the Indian Test team for the tour to Australia last year or the upcoming visit to England.
Jaydev Unadkat on England snub
In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Jaydev Unadkat opened up about how he felt after being repeatedly ignored by the selectors, what more he can do to make sure he becomes virtually impossible to overlook, and much more.
"It's disappointing for sure, especially with a bigger contingent going and a couple of guys who were there in the team not there, I was expecting that now that I will get it. But again, I have to come to terms with it as to what more can I do to it. I can ask people why I wasn't selected and maybe there are a couple of reasons as well. But what's more that I can do on my part, that will be something that I will be concentrating more on. The performances that I have done speak for themselves and I will make sure I keep on doing that," Jaydev Unadkat said.
Jaydev Unadkat's reaction to being called 'too old'
In one of his interviews, former Saurashtra stalwart and head coach Karsan Ghavri made some stunning revelations about Jaydev Unadkat's position in the pecking order of the Indian selectors.
The coach said that after Saurashtra's Ranji Trophy 2019-20 triumph, he asked a selector about what more the left-armer could do to earn a call-up.
Astonishingly, Ghavri was told that Jaydev Unadkat was already aged 32-33 and was not even among the 30 probable players that they discussed in meetings. The left-arm pacer certainly felt hard done after hearing this and this is what he had to say:
"I think that obviously is not fair to be honest. I had a word with Karu Bhai as well and what the selectors told him at that point is that he (Unadkat) is 32-33, which I am not. I am 29, so maybe there's a misconception because I made my Test debut a lot earlier. But even if that is the case, the one thing that should prove my game is my fitness on the field."
Jaydev Unadkat also spoke about the kind of hard yards he has put in behind the scenes to achieve the fitness standards set by the Indian team. He added:
"If I am bowling consistently for 4-5 days, bowling 37 overs in a Ranji Trophy final, getting wickets in the first session of the final day with the reverse swinging ball, I must be doing things right. I recently passed the yo-yo test as well. So judging me by my age is unfair if it is looked upon from that point of view."
Jaydev Unadkat on his bond with Cheteshwar Pujara
Another stalwart of Saurashtra cricket and a mainstay of the Indian team, Cheteshwar Pujara has been a consistent batsman over the years. He and Unadkat have played together for quite some time and share a great camaraderie.
After Saurashtra's 2019-20 Ranji Trophy win, Pujara said in one of his interviews that Jaydev Unadkat was ready to play Test cricket for India again. That chance has not arrived yet, although the 29-year-old has been performing to the best of his ability.
Jaydev Unadkat spoke about how Pujara is the one who has motivated him over the years and how the pacer is also in contact with a few other Indian players.
"Cheteshwar has been a dear friend to me and we've played cricket together for a number of years. But when he said last year that I am ready to play Test cricket, that did mean something to me, because he was obviously the first one to stand and tell me if I was not doing well. 5-6 years ago when I had returned from an injury, he had told me that I had to work on my fitness. He has been honest with me and last season he told me that this is me at my best so those things do mean a lot. A couple of other guys also told me that I deserved to be there and that I would get my chance soon," Jaydev Unadkat revealed.
There has understandably been an uproar among fans at seeing Jaydev Unadkat excluded from the Indian squad for the long England tour. Many believe having another left-arm option along with young Arzan Nagwaswalla could have certainly helped India practice for the likes of Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.
Jaydev Unadkat isn't disheartened and has taken this snub in his stride. He believes he can make a Team India comeback if he continues to perform consistently.