Jaydev Unadkat received his eagerly anticipated opportunity to bowl with the red ball in Tests as he made a comeback for India after twelve years, in the second match against Bangladesh at Dhaka.
In January this year, he had tweeted: ‘Dear red ball, please give me one more chance.. I’ll make you proud, promise!”
Talking about that tweet, in an interview with PTI, following his comeback where he picked up 3/67 in the Test against Bangldesh, he said, “Everyone thought that I was referring to a national comeback. I was just missing red ball cricket in general as Ranji Trophy was postponed for a second time (due to Covid).”
Unadkat received a national call-up when he least expected it, despite the fact that he had not been on the selectors’ radar despite a record-breaking performance in the 2020 Ranji Trophy. Unadkat had played his last Test alongside Sachin Tendulkar and current head coach Rahul Dravid in 2010 in South Africa.
Talking about the unexpected call-up, he said, “When you don’t expect things and they happen, I take it in my stride. I just wanted to contribute. If not take a wicket then create pressure from the other end. That was the thought.”
He added: “Domestic cricket has helped me immensely that way. You always have a role to play as a bowler even when you aren’t getting the wickets. You can create pressure and put batter in doubt and other bowlers can capitalise on that.”
Unadkat, who captains Saurashtra and led them to the Vijay Hazare Trophy title earlier in December, said that the leadership experience helped him stay on the path that led him to the comeback for India.
“Leading Saurashtra has helped me focus on my game and not be distracted by anything else. It has helped me see the future. Captaining Saurashtra, I am not just caring for my own performance but also of others and team goals. That kept me going,” he said.
He added: “It was very emotional for my family, my wife who was not around in 2010 when I made my debut. He believed in me more than I did. And when I got to know that I was playing, I felt the same goosebumps I felt 12 years ago.”