Unadkat unfazed about IPL price tag

Jaydev Unadkat, who was picked up by the Rajasthan Royals for a whopping Rs. 8.4 crore, says he is better prepared to handle the pressure of the price tag this time around.

Jaydev Unadkat was once again the the costliest buy at the IPL auctions after being re-signed but Rajasthan Royals for Rs 8.4 Crore.   -  AFP

Even when he made his Test debut as a teenager in South Africa way back in 2010, Jaydev Unadkat wasn’t under so much under the scanner as he has been for the last few months following the Indian Premier League’s Player Auction in January in Bengaluru.

A tag of Rs. 11.5 crore - the highest for an Indian in the IPL auctions - was always going to be a challenge to justify and Unadkat had no qualms in admitting after he was sent back in the auction pool by Rajasthan Royals that he struggled to cope with the additional limelight that came along with the big bucks.

Eleven months later, Unadkat yet again emerged as the highest-paid cricketer in the IPL auction, with the Royals re-signing him for Rs. 8.4 crore in Jaipur on Tuesday. But the lanky bower from Porbandar appeared to be prepared to handle it this time around.

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“It was cool and calm this time, not as hyped as the last time. I was not worried about team releasing me. It was in my mind that whatever happens will be for my good,” Unadkat said here on Friday, ahead of Saurashtra’s Ranji Trophy clash against Mumbai. “I have taken a lot of confidence from the last time. It was heartening to see the franchise was looking to have me in their set up as a left-arm pacer,” he added.

With Jaydev Shah having retired mid-season and Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja on India duty, Unadkat has also formally taken over as the Saurashtra captain. And he hopes the coming few months, leading into the 2019 IPL and the ICC World Cup, will be a “defining phase” of his career.

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“The form as well as rhythm is excellent, which is good for a fast bowler. The mind-space is right,” Unadkat said. “I am taking things one at a time, not looking into the future too much. It will be the defining phase of my career and I am really excited about it.”