2019 IPL Auction’s Biggest Indian Buy on His Big Price Tag
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Reporter: Vishnu Venugopalan
Jaydev Unadkat may not have justified the record-breaking bid for him in the IPL last year, but Rajasthan Royals showed that he was still crucial to the franchise, when they broke the bank for the pacer, again this year.
And while the 27-year-old cricketer was ready to admit that he didn’t have a great season last year, he said that a player’s contribution to a team didn’t always reflect in the numbers.
He revealed that after the Indian Premier League season last year, Rajasthan’s team management had communicated to him that he was still an important cog in their wheel.
“As a franchise they were pretty happy with how I was trying to contribute to the team. The confidence that I got after they spoke to me at the end of the season is what’s required for a player to believe in himself and to keep contributing for the team,” said Unadkat.
Unadkat ended the IPL 2018 season with a meek 11 wickets in 15 matches at an average of 44.18, after he was bagged for Rs 11.5 crore in the auction, becoming the most expensive Indian cricketer.
Though Rajasthan didn’t retain him for the upcoming season, they didn’t mind spending a big sum on him. And the bid of Rs 8.40 crore made Unadkat the highest-paid Indian player in two straight IPL auctions.
“In pressure situations, and at times, you start to expect a lot out of yourself, which I was aware about last year and am aware about it now as well. I’ve been working on that – to be in the right mental space, to be in a space where I don’t really think about anything else but working on my skills and working on my fitness levels and improving my game, taking it to the next level. That’s been there on my mind and I don’t think it’s going to play any more on my mind the fact that I’ve been bought by the team for a certain amount last year and a certain amount this year.”Jaydev Unadkat
Eyes on India Comeback
The beginning of his international career was marked by Unadkat being thrown in the deep end – his first-ever game for India was a Test against South Africa in South Africa. And he was hit for 156 runs in 26 overs in the one innings that he bowled. That was the last time he played in whites. He had a short-lived ODI stint in 2013, and then broke into the T20I team in 2016. Since, he has picked up 14 wickets in 10 twenty-over games – his last T20I the Nidahas trophy final that India won against Sri Lanka.
However this year, Unadkat has had a successful domestic season that included leading Saurashtra to the Ranji Trophy final. He has picked up 39 wickets in 8 Ranji Trophy games and 12 wickets in 6 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s. And he hopes if keeps doing these “right things”, he could be find a way back into the Indian team soon.
“I’ve done pretty well in the domestic season this year. Having taken up captaincy for my state side, I think I’ve made it clear in my head that it’s going to be one game at a time. I really want to play every single game I play for my team be it Saurashtra, be it for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL or for the national team,” said Unadkat.
Obviously, being back in the national team is there in the back of my mind as it is on everyone’s mind. Playing for the country is the ultimate goal and I really hope that with the way I’ve been performing in this particular season, the rhythm that I’ve got I keep doing those right things.”Jaydev Unadkat
Unadkat’s IPL 2019 Picks
With the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League set to kick off on 23 March, Unadkat revealed who he was looking forward bowling to this season.
“There are quite a few names I always look forward bowling in the IPL to. AB de Villiers, Virat of course, Mahi bhai and I think Chris Gayle at the moment, the way he’s striking the ball, he’s looking in prime form. And he’s said he will retire after the World Cup so he’s going to be one guy who opens up and goes all guns blazing.”Jaydev Unadkat
After missing the previous season due to his one-year suspension for the ball-tampering incident, former Australia captain Steve Smith is set to make a comeback to the IPL. He underwent an elbow surgery in February, but is said to be recovering well.
When asked what the one match he’s looking forward to this season is, Unadkat smiled and said, “I think the finals. I think it would be great to be part of the team if we reach the finals and that’s one match I really look forward to playing this season”.