Unadkat hopes Lanka series to be a turnaround in his career

Jaydev Unadkat, who impressed on his return to the national side, shares his thoughts on the performances against Sri Lanka and the road ahead for him.

Unadkat took 4/44 in the three T20Is against Sri Lanka.   -  AFP

Back in the national team after a year in the wilderness, left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat feels that his impressive display in the T20 International series against Sri Lanka can prove to be a turnaround in his career.

The 26-year-old Saurashtra pacer had impressive figures of 2/15 against Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I game of the series which India won by five wickets at the Wankhede Stadium.

Unadkat had figures of 1/7 and 1/22 in Cuttack and Indore respectively, where the first two games of the series were played, after being included in the squad on the strength of his good show in domestic cricket.

“This series has really helped me gain the confidence needed at International level. In the past also, whenever I have done well in domestic (cricket) I have got my chances. So it was about doing well out there and getting that confidence,” said Unadkat.

“It was just not coming to me when I played for India the previous time. But yes, this series has definitely been a turnaround for me and I really needed (it) at this point in my career and I would be really happy to take it forward from here,” he said at the post-match press conference.

Read: SL goes down fighting in the third T20I

The left-arm pacer made his Test debut in 2010 in South Africa. He then played seven ODIs in 2013 and made his T20 debut in Zimbabwe in June 2016 before spending another year and a half in the wilderness.

His chances of a comeback had improved after the retirement of veteran Ashish Nehra with the selectors on the lookout for a left-hand pacer who can provide variety.

Asked about it, Unadkat said, “That is something for the management to see for, but I would definitely agree that a left-arm seamer does add to the variety of the team’s attack and it would be awesome if I will be able to keep doing well and be a regular player in the limited-overs format.

“That is something I am looking forward to do now. It is just the start, I have got the confidence. It is about how I take it from here, how I work on my skills more and more.

Players will try and target at my skills, they will study what my skills are now that I have played a few games on the international circuit,” the Porbandar-born bowler said.

Unadkat has improved as a bowler and now has variety to his arsenal and even uses them in high-pressure situations, especially in the Indian Premier League.

“It’s about backing myself in high-pressure situations. I have seen all good players do that and I’ve learnt from them. Bhuvi (Bhuvaneshwar Kumar) does it extremely well in pressure situations. We see Jasprit (Bumrah) do that for India as well. Be it any situation, pressure or otherwise, I need to back my strengths,” he said.

He said bowling on flat tracks in domestic cricket has immensely helped him improve his fitness and made him more mature.

“For a fast bowler, fitness is one aspect that really helps to build on the skills. It’s something that is not related to the game directly but its impact is going to be on the bowling. Maybe that’s the only thing that has changed and I have certainly matured as a player,” he said.

“Any player who plays through domestic circuit, the T20s, the one-dayers and Ranji Trophy, on flat tracks of Saurashtra (will improve). It’s about motivating and backing yourself.

Those are the times that you go through the grind and make out what your abilities are and where you need to improve. So after making my Test debut, going back into domestic cricket knowing already what needs to be done at the highest level did help me in that part of my career,” he added.

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