There is a saying that goes ‘hard work pay off,’ and Jaydev Unadkat would certainly agree to it. The left-arm pacer had burst onto the scene way back in 2010 after showing promising signs in the Under-19 World Cup but could not leave a mark on his Test debut against South Africa, conceding over 100 runs at an economy of almost 4 and failed to take even a single wicket.
Three years later, in 2013 he made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe on the back of some impressive performance in IPL and domestic cricket, but he soon disappeared from the scene due to inconsistent performances and injuries.
A stress fracture which he sustained in 2014 forced him to spend a considerable time off the field and as a result, he managed to play just one Ranji Trophy game in the 2014-15 season, four in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament and made one appearance for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2015.
However, he hit the ground running after recovering from the injury and has not looked back since then. He made a stunning comeback in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season, taking as many as 40 wickets that included four five-wicket hauls to help Saurashtra make it to the final. And he continued his form in this year’s Indian Premier League too, playing a vital role in Rising Pune Supergiant’s march to the final. The Saurashtra star took 24 wickets in just 12 games at 13.41 including a five-wicket haul and was behind only Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the list of this year’s highest wicket-taker.
The impressive outings saw him getting a recall from the national team for the T20 series against Sri Lanka and he has now received another reward for his consistent performances. The 26-year old has become the most expensive Indian player in the recently-concluded auction for the upcoming Indian Premier League after being bought by INR 11.5 crore by Rajasthan Royals. And not surprisingly, he found the fierce bidding from the franchises surreal.
“After the physio told me that my bidding is on, I was hooked onto the live streaming for the next 15 minutes and found it surreal. The entire team stopped it’s training to watch my bidding,” Unadkat told PTI.
The Saurashtra star further said he did not expect franchises to splurge on a fast bowler since Rs 10 crore plus deals have always been batsmen’s bastion.
“Honestly, I did not have any amount in mind. The past two years have been pretty good for me and after last year’s IPL (24 wickets), I expected a good bid. But yes, I was really amazed at the kind of bidding that happened. It is indeed surprising for me that franchises were ready to pay so much for a fast bowler,” said Unadkat.
At the same time, Unadkat is not getting carried away with the moment and is well aware of the responsibility that has been put on his shoulder.
“I am overwhelmed but taking it in a happy way. I am expected to give my best for my franchise and will strive to do that,” said Unadkat.
Speaking about his transformation since playing his first and only Test till date way back in 2010, he said:
“From the first time that I played for India till now, I have worked a lot on my game. One of the main architects of this change has been our India bowling coach Bharat Arun. Bharat sir has been my coach since I was an U-19 India player. I have had numerous sessions with him at the NCA, which has proved to be immensely helpful.”
“Now that I am back in the T20 squad, I have been regularly in touch with Bharat sir and trying to execute his tips. I believe the biggest change has been my mindset about using the variation. Earlier, there wasn’t that self confidence which I have now when I want to try something new,” he added.