Price tag not a worry for Unadkat

Jaydev Unadkat, the costliest Indian buy this IPL, is upbeat to represent Rajasthan Royals under Ajinkya Rahane’s leadership.

Jaydev Unadkat at a training session at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Little did Jaydev Unadkat know that he would be the highest Indian buy of the season when the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions got underway in January. But to his surprise, the 26-year-old pacer from Porbandar was roped in by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping Rs 11.5 crore.

Since then, there have been talks whether such a huge price tag would ultimately put the pacer under pressure during the tournament.

But Unadkat makes it clear that he is putting in extra effort to make this IPL a memorable outing.

The Rajasthan Royals spoke at length in an exclusive interview with Sportstar.

Excerpts...

You are the costliest Indian buy in this edition of the IPL, will that bring added pressure?

It is an awesome feeling as a bowler, as I was picked for such a high price. I think my hard work has been accepted. Irrespective of the price tag, I need to perform well on the field. I don’t have any pressure. I am in good form and I’m looking forward to the challenges. I will put in extra effort during the IPL.

The last IPL was quite an outing for you at Rising Pune Supergiant and, by your own admission, helped you a lot in your career...

My hard work has paid off. I have been in good form. I always try to stick to the basics and look forward to bowl at right areas. This time too, I would like to repeat the things that have worked for me in the past.

How do you assess Royals bowling line-up this time, given the fact that it does not have too many experienced pacers?

We have a great mix of domestic and international pacers. We have experienced Indian pacers, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny — who can bowl with variation in their pace. Moreover, we have Dushmantha Chameera and Ben Laughlin, who are performing well for their countries. So, I don’t think we lack experienced pacers.

The 26-year-old Unadkat was roped in by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping Rs 11.5 crore.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Royals, true to its reputation, has stacked up the side with youngsters. Being a senior, who has played at the highest level, how would you like to guide the newcomers?

Royals has been a team that has always focused on scouting and grooming young talent, which is great. I have been training with the boys and their determination and energy is commendable. They are always eager to contribute. And they can learn from legends like Shane Warne.

Will the side be missing the experience of Smith? In his absence, how has the strategy changed for the team?

Definitely, we will be missing him. But now, we have Ajinkya as captain. He has a good experience of leading the Indian team on many occasions. The team is excited to play under his guidance.

Ahead of the IPL, is there anything in particular, which you are working on?

This time, I am looking to apply some variations in my bowling. There are couple of deliveries that I am trying out at the nets. I am currently working to develop these variations.

The last few months have been quite magical for you. How do you look back at those days?

Yes, last few months were incredible for me as I have performed well for the team, be it India or Saurashtra. When I look back, it gives me inspiration to do better in upcoming matches and I always try to learn from my mistakes.

With the 2019 World Cup a year away, do you think you have a high chance of making the cut? What are your plans for the next one year?

I am not thinking too much as of now. It is everyone’s dream to represent the country in the World Cup. I believe taking one match at a time and giving the best in whatever opportunity comes across.

Some of your contemporaries opt for County cricket in the break to sharpen their skills. Do you plan to do any such thing?

I do feel county cricket is a great learning, but then there is a lot of cricket happening here and I want to prepare myself and give my best for that. I shall look out for an outing if I get a chance in a year or two to prepare.

Lastly, from last year’s IPL to this year’s IPL, has life changed for you?

Life has not changed much, but it has become more exciting and challenging. I got selected for the country once again. Last year, I played for Pune and this season, I will represent Rajasthan Royals. I am still doing the same things, with more courage, to keep moving forward.