Unadkat and Hooda eager to impress

Jaydev Unadkat and debutant Deepak Hooda — who are named in the India Twenty20 squad that will face Sri Lanka — have enjoyed decent Ranji Trophy outings and are now eager perform at the international level.

Jaydev Unadkat has had a successful year so far, where he became one of the major wicket-takers of the Rising Pune Supergiant in the IPL and picked up 13 wickets and scored 134 runs for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy.   -  PTI

When Deepak Hooda made his first class debut in 2014, Jaydev Unadkat had already spent four years in the circuit. In those four seasons, the fast bowler from Saurashtra played a lone Test and a few ODIs, and was even noticed by the Pakistani legend Wasim Akram.

While Unadkat was once touted as the next big thing in Indian pace bowling department, he failed to live up to the expectations, despite some good performances for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

But he bounced back earlier this year — becoming one of the major wicket-takers of the new-defunct franchise, Rising Pune Supergiant, in the IPL. That, and a decent Ranji Trophy outing — with 13 wickets and 134 runs in his kitty — Unadkat has again returned to the national side, and will be sharing the dressing room with the debutant Hooda for the T20 series against Sri Lanka.

READ: After playing the waiting game, Parthiv ready for the challenge

Even though he played his last T20 against Zimbabwe last year, Unadkat is happy to be back. “It feels good to have earned my place after a good show in the Indian Premier League and domestic circuit,” he told Sportstar on Monday evening, quickly adding, “I am happy. But I want to perform and enjoy all the success.”

While he has had a fairly decent outing with Saurashtra this season, Unadkat wants to work hard to ensure a smooth transition into the T20 mode. “This season has been good. I will keep working on my fitness and be ready for the opportunity when it comes,” he said.

“I have a few days off before the series and I will be working on a couple of skills that I am good at in the shortest format. I just (want) to transform from longer format to the T20 mode,” a confident Unadkat said.

If it is a comeback for Unadkat, Baroda boy Hooda sees this call-up as a ‘dream come true’.

“I am happy for myself and the family. It is a big honour to represent the country, and the entire family dreamt of seeing me playing for India one day,” he said, while adding, “I still have a long way to go.”

He, however, is not new to the international arena. Having played for Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, Hooda knows what it takes to handle pressure at the big stage. “Stints in Royals and Sunrisers helped me a lot. Under Rahul (Dravid) sir, VVS (Laxman) and Tom Moody sir, I learnt a lot. IPL is an international platform, and that will help,” he said.

“Even stints with India A will be useful. Now I know how to prepare for the big league,” he added.

ALSO READ: 'Happy I am joining the Indian squad when Dhoni is in the team,' says Washington Sundar

In this year’s Ranji Trophy, Hooda was made the skipper of Baroda after the selectors decided to drop Irfan Pathan. The team performed well under its new leader. And ahead of debut, Hooda says, he will continue playing aggressive cricket. “I play aggressive cricket. I have to work hard on my mindset,” Hooda said, brimming with confidence.

After days of hard work, the windows of opportunity have finally opened.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :