Jaydev Unadkat: 'I can bat, this isn’t the first time'

India international Cheteshwar Pujara had advised the Saurashtra skipper not to be defensive while batting in the second session on day three of the Ranji Trophy final.

Jaydev Unadkat: "I feel we are going to chase it whether it is 150 or 200 or more."   -  pti

There are reasons why international cricketers often hog the limelight in domestic matches. Experience helps them judge match situations better, and that’s what Jaydev Unadkat did on day three of the Ranji Trophy final at the VCA ground here.

When Unadkat came to bat, Saurashtra was 85 runs behind Vidarbha’s first innings total [312] with two wickets in hand. Instead of holding ground, he led from the front by playing his shots.

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Unadkat added 25 runs with Kamlesh Makvana for the ninth wicket and 60 runs with Chetan Sakariya for the 10th that narrowed the deficit.

All out for 307, Saurashtra fell short by just five runs. Dismissed for 46 off 101 balls, Unadkat missed his fifty by a whisker.

As it Happened

Speaking to Sportstar on the high-pressure innings, he said, “I wasn’t batting well throughout the season. I had this one due for long and to do it when the team needed it most in the final is something I was hoping to do. I am happy it came through.”

“I could have done it previously as well. I can bat. It is not that I have done it for the first time.”

Unadkat has six fifties in first-class cricket. Saurashtra batting mainstay and India international Cheteshwar Pujara had a piece of advice for Unadkat before the second session. “The only thing Cheteshwar told me is to be positive and not try to play them out or be defensive. On that wicket, it was difficult to defend everything. It helped me. I played a couple of shots going into it which gave me the confidence,” he said.

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Sakariya's grit

Unadkat also showered praise on youngster Sakariya who remained unbeaten on 28 despite being hit by a Umesh Yadav bouncer.

“The grit that he showed was amazing. He was determined even after getting hit by the Umesh bouncer. He was bowling fast. In that spell, he was trying to get that one wicket. To see that someone showing that determination shows what this team is made up of.

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"Chetan showed a lot of character in this partnership. He kept telling me, ‘I will play and I am not going to get out’ and that’s what he did. I started getting a lot of confidence straightaway in him and that’s why we got those runs,” he added.

Unadkat reckons it is hard to predict a competitive total. “Whatever it is going to be, it will be chaseable. I feel we are going to chase it whether it is 150 or 200 or more.”

The Saurashtra skipper has represented India 18 times – one Test, seven ODIs and 10 T20Is – and his performance in the ongoing domestic season could set the stage for an international comeback.