Unadkat keen to fill in the left-arm seamer’s void

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Test cap came calling early in Jayadev Unadkat’s career. A decent show in the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand in 2010 and a string of consistent performances for India ‘A’ saw the left-arm seamer being summoned by the Indian team management for their tour of South Africa in December the same year. Just 19 years in age, Unadkat, with little first-class experience behind him, replaced an injured Zaheer Khan in the Centurion Test but had a forgettable debut as he went wicket-less in that game.

There has been no second Test for Unadkat since then but the 26-year-old, who now has the experience of 63 first-class games under his belt, is keen to fill in the void of a left-arm seamer in Indian pace battery. “For any player who is playing first-class cricket, his dream is to play Test cricket for his country. So it has been the same for me. Since I made my Test debut back in 2010, my sole aim has been to make a comeback and prove that I have the potential to play for the national team again. I am focused and have been polishing my skills. Last three or four domestic seasons have been great and I think I am improving myself these days,” said the Porbander lad on the sidelines of Saurashtra’s Ranji Trophy match against Kerala here.

Unadkat, who is playing his 64th first class match, completed 200 wickets in his first-class career against Gujarat in November this year. “Definitely it’s a great milestone. I think playing for a state like Saurashtra, where most of our home matches are played on flat tracks or turning tracks, it has been difficult for me at times as I didn’t get as much bowling as I would have liked. Having said that, the same reason motivated me to work hard and get wickets. Bowling on flat tracks helped me improve my skills,”said the pacer who made a brief comeback to the national team in 2013 when he played seven ODIs and a T20I for India.

Unadkat realizes that the Indian team management expects their bowlers to compliment with the bat too and he has been working earnestly in the nets to improve his skills on that front. “My confidence in batting has gone up and everyone says that my six-hitting ability is a stand out. It’s always beneficial if you have a bowler who can contribute well with the bat, not as a tail-ender but as a reliable lower-middle-order batsman. It’s going to improve more and more for sure,” he added.
Unadkat, who took a hat-trick for Rising Pune Super giant against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), hailed Mahendra Singh Dhoni and other seniors in the squad for backing him. “IPL is a great experience. We had Mahi bhai in our side and we had a great team combination too. When you have those kind of seniors to back you, it’s always good. T20 is a format where you may get hit at times but the same skills will get you wickets too,” he said.

The promising all rounder who is a great friend of Cheteshwar Pujara, says the Test specialist batsman has been a great inspiration in his career. “Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara are the two cricketers who inspire me a lot. They showed us that there is no short cut for hard work and patience. These days, my only aim is to maintain my form, my rhythm and do well for my teams,” the modest lad specifies his plans.
Source:- Times Of India

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