Ahead of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL's) 2018 edition, Jaydev Unadkat was the talk of the town, having emerged as the highest-paid Indian cricketer during the preceding auction. And the manner in which the Saurashtra left-arm pacer performed for the Rajasthan Royals - 11 wickets from 25 at an average of 44.18 and economy rate of 9.65, it appeared as if the bowler had bogged down under the pressure of justifying the Rs. 11.5 crore price tag attached to him.
Cut to Saturday, and despite having emerged as the highest-paid Indian cricketer for the second auction in running (he was bought for Rs. 8.4 crore by the same franchise this time around) and having taken over Saurashtra’s captaincy, Unadkat was in a jovial mood as he trained with his team-mates at the Emerald Heights International school ground.
He stressed that the price tag hasn’t really affected him. “To be honest, it was a first last year. The hype was so much more last year than this time around. I still feel it was never about the money factor that actually did anything to the game. Yes, I did expect a lot at times from myself at many times and it happens with everyone at some point,” Unadkat said ahead of Saurashtra’s crucial Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Group C encounter against Punjab on Sunday.
“But as you said, there’s no such baggage on my mind at the moment from what was there (last year). I am just in a happy space. I am enjoying the cricket that I am playing, I am loving the game I am playing and it’s all good when it comes off on the field.”
Despite emerging as one of the consistent pacers on the domestic circuit, playing a key role in Saurashtra’s surge to the Ranji Trophy final, Unadkat hasn’t really been considered for an India recall. But the seasoned pacer is far from being desperate for it.
“Everyone is doing very well with the chances they are getting. If you see, it’s the best crop of pace bowlers we have had in the history of Test cricket, so it cannot get better in terms of competition,” Unadkat said.
“If I keep on playing the way I am playing at the moment, I definitely feel the time will come. I have been called up when I was doing well in the past and I still feel the time will come. I am going to wait for my time.”
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