We live in hope: Unadkat opens up on Ranji Trophy postponement

With the domestic season again coming to a halt due to the pandemic, Jaydev Unadkat is dejected, but certainly not losing hope.

Jaydev Unadkat

Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat with the Ranji Trophy during the 2019-20 season.   -  The Hindu

Moments after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced it would postpone the Ranji Trophy indefinitely due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, Jaydev Unadkat put out an emotional tweet: “Dear red ball, please give me one more chance… I’ll make you proud, promise!”

A seasoned campaigner and the captain of defending champion Saurashtra, Unadkat was looking forward to the ‘return’ of red ball cricket after two years. But with the domestic season again coming to a halt due to the pandemic, Unadkat is dejected, but certainly not losing hope.

In a chat with Sportstar on Wednesday, the highest wicket-taker of the 2019-20 season, spoke about the postponement and his plans for the next couple of weeks.

You put out an emotional tweet after the postponement of the tournament. How do you see the entire situation?

Yes, it was a bit out of disappointment, like every other cricketer.

Losing two Ranji Trophy seasons back-to-back won’t be ideal at all, so when I heard about it, I was a bit disappointed. I am hopeful the tournament may happen at some point, but in case it does not happen, it will be a disaster.

You have been one of the most consistent performers in red-ball cricket. How were you preparing for the season?

Red-ball cricket is definitely different from white-ball cricket.

When we started training with the red ball, it was initially hard to get back to the rhythm. It requires a different skill set, so you need to get used to it. We were slowly getting into the zone. It would take at least two or three games to get back into shape, whenever the tournament starts.

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At local level too, we have mostly played white-ball cricket, so yes, it will be difficult, but as a professional player, you would want to strike form within a couple of games. There is anyway so much competition, so you need to start on a high, whenever you get a chance to play.

Have you had a word with your teammates?

I had a brief chat with everyone. We can only hope that we have the tournament. So, I told them that we should try and get ready with whatever time we have got now.

The target is to individually work on our skill sets and to get better so that if the tournament happens next month, we should be ready for it. That’s the only hope.

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Everyone was on the same page, and that’s how it has been for the last couple of years. We have only been living on hope and it’s again back to that phase. Hopefully, we can overcome this.

With COVID-19 cases rising, several restrictions have been put in place. How do you plan to keep yourself and the team in shape for the next few weeks?

We will have four or five days of break, just to regroup. The motivation will obviously be low at the moment since it has just happened.

Once we come to terms with the situation, my personal goal would be to attain a prime fitness level and it’s good to have a sort of period, where you are not aggressively practicing, but just having some time for the body to heal and get stronger. It’s the middle of the season, so the body will always feel if we keep on giving it proper attention. That’s the goal for now.

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