“One of the days with better feelings in life! Hard work brings opportunity! And to take its advantage, it demands more hard work!” This is what Jaydev Unadkat posted on his Twitter page on July 6, a day before the Indian team for the Zimbabwe tour and the ‘A’ team for South Africa were picked. And voila, the 21-year-old left-arm pacer was rewarded with a place in both teams.
Now that the Saurashtra lad, who played his only Test in South Africa in 2010, has got the ‘advantage’, Unadkat is determined to put in that ‘hard work’ to ensure his return to international cricket is impressive. While he credits the importance of playing two full seasons of Ranji Trophy to get back into national reckoning, Unadkat acknowledged the lessons learnt bowling to Chris Gayle & Co in the nets during his stint with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last Indian Premier League.
Bowling to the West Indian big-hitter, who slammed the fastest century (175 not out) ever in cricket during the IPL, helped Unadkat improve his line and length. “You cannot commit a lot of errors against him (Gayle). You had to be as consistent as possible. That helped a lot. It’s not only Gayle, bowling to all international players like AB de Villers, T Dilshan, Virat Kohli was very helpful. To bowl to these guys in the nets is in itself a great learning experience,” Unadkat told MiD DAY.
His RCB teammate and senior India pacer Zaheer Khan was also a great help to Unadkat. “Zaheerbhai would always talk to me before every match. He would discuss strategies and Virat too was very helpful,” added Unadkat, who impressed with 13 wickets in as many games for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Matured as a bowler
Unadkat feels it is the perfect time to receive an India call-up. “Quite a lot of things have changed (since my international debut in 2010). I am more mature as a bowler. I have now played two full Ranji seasons which I lacked at that time. Playing for Saurashtra, I know how tough it is to cement my place in the team.
“I have also increased my strength which is helping my bowling. It is the perfect time (for recall). I am in a very good state of mind. The recent performances have also given me good confidence,” Unadkat said. “I was hopeful for the India ‘A’ call-up after doing well in the IPL. I chose not to think about the national call-up. I wanted to take one match at a time.
I did not want to think too far ahead. Now that I have been selected, I am quite excited to do well,” he added. When asked about the lessons learnt from the 2010 SA tour, Unadkat said: “I had done well (to be included in the Indian team) and I was certainly expecting the call up. “I don’t want to analyse too much about what happened there. I would prefer to focus in the present and not think about what I did then.”