Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat had a resurgent first half of the IPL 2021 season for the Rajasthan Royals (RR). The 29-year-old played four games and picked up as many wickets at a brilliant economy rate of just 7.06 runs per over.
While he didn't play in all of RR's games in the first half of the tournament, Unadkat did have a telling impact after what was a disappointing IPL 2020 season for him. But with the new ball upfront, the left-arm pacer was simply brilliant.
Jaydev Unadkat's IPL 2021 season with RR
In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, the RR pacer opened up on his IPL 2021 season, his role as an all-rounder, his dreams of making it to India's T20 World Cup squad and much more.
Jaydev Unadkat was a bit disappointed not to have played all the games for RR so far in IPL 2021. But he is satisfied with the way he has been able to turn around his form since the last edition of the tournament.
''I've been on this team for four years now. They have given me a different role this season, bowling with the new ball in the powerplay most of the time and not a lot in the death. I was doing good and maybe you could say I was disappointed in not getting a couple more games at the end when I was doing well, the Bowlers feel good to be in the right rhythm when you have the team's backing. But it is not in my hands so I cannot complain about it. I didn't have a great season last time so maybe that is one point where I can improve upon and prove my point again," Jaydev Unadkat said.
Jaydev Unadkat's best bowling performance in IPL 2021 was against the Delhi Capitals where he picked up three big wickets of Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane. He explained the things he has done differently this season that have seen him become a genuine wicket-taker.
''I think I'm more confident in myself than I was last season. I was probably trying to find the rhythm last season. But this season, I was certain about my ability. I have performed for a number of years and there is no reason to doubt myself once I was in a match situation. So I made up my mind that if I get my opportunity this year, I would certainly not think about 'what if' but about what good can I do and what my strengths are," he added.
Jaydev Unadkat on young Chetan Sakariya
One of the success stories of the IPL 2021 season has been young Saurashtra left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya. The 23-year-old had a brilliant first half, picking up seven wickets from as many matches at an acceptable economy rate of 8.22.
Jaydev Unadkat has captained young Sakariya at Saurashtra and has seen the pacer grow from strength to strength. He was delighted with the way the 23-year-old performed and reckons he will only get better with time. Unadkat stated:
''I think he's (Sakariya) done really well, he's progressed a lot. He's a hard-working cricketer, puts everything out there and that's what you require from a youngster. He is someone who is coming up the ranks and I am really happy that he is able to replicate whatever he is doing for Saurashtra for the last couple of years for RR as well. So it is just the beginning for him."
Jaydev Unadkat on Sanju Samson's captaincy
Sanju Samson has been associated with RR for a number of years and was appointed as the captain of the team ahead of the upcoming season. The 26-year-old had captained Kerala and thus has a bit of experience.
Although RR won just three out of their seven games, Samson showed shades of being a great captain through his fine bowling changes. Unadkat spoke about the difference between Samson and former RR skipper Steve Smith.
"Sanju is new to the captaincy and he has captained RR for just seven games. I think after a full season you will be able to tell what sort of difference is there (between Samson and Smith). But obviously Samson has a lot of knowledge about the domestic players that are there in the team. Because of that maybe he can get a couple of decisions right on the field," Jaydev Unadkat stated.
Jaydev Unadkat: The All-rounder
Apart from doing well with the ball, Jaydev Unadkat also contributed with the bat for RR, scoring 35 runs in quick time. The Saurashtra skipper also played a couple of match-defining knocks on their way to the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinals.
The left-arm pacer certainly feels he can fill the role Team India expects from a seaming all-rounder. He stated:
"I'm confident to be honest. Especially the couple of knocks that I played this year did give me the confidence. I haven't had many opportunities to bat in the IPL. I have done well for Saurashtra too with the bat this year in the Vijay Hazare and won a couple of games with the bat. So I am confident that I can provide those useful runs at No.8, No.9 especially in the T20 format."
Jaydev Unadkat on his chances of making an India comeback
India are set to tour Sri Lanka for a white-ball series in July. A second-string team is expected to be sent to the Island Nation as India's main players will be England preparing for the Test series.
Jaydev Unadkat has been impressive in the few white-ball games that he has played for India, and is confident of making a strong comeback in the Sri Lanka tour.
"I am certain that no chance is not an option. I mean, the way I have been performing in the last season and the first half of this season, I am certain that I will get my chance, maybe whenever but I will make sure I go get the chance with my performances as well," Jaydev Unadkat asserted.
Jaydev Unadkat also spoke about his chances of featuring in India's T20 World Cup squad for the showpiece event later this year. He feels if he continues to remain consistent with his performances in the second half of the IPL, he can knock down the door of the selectors and wear the India blue again.
"I really hope so, but the focus will be on getting a couple of things right, being in a good shape before the IPL. Once we are there, once we are into the season, I will make sure that I will leave no stone unturned to make my mark and to prove a point that I am good enough to be at that level," he signed off.