The calmness in his voice exudes self belief and Jaydev Unadkat comes across as a matured player with a strong head on his shoulder. The 21-year-old has seen many ups and downs in his fledgling career.
Having made his Test debut at 19, he was shown the door after just one match against South Africa.
Critics ridiculed him and some went on to say that he wasn’t good enough even for domestic cricket.
While a youngster can lose focus after such remarks, Unadkat used it to his advantage and learnt from his mistakes rather than being disheartened.
Speaking to Mail Today, before the start of the series against Australia, Unadkat said that the experience of international cricket early in his career helped him realise his strengths and weaknesses.
“I believe that whatever happens is for the good. I played the Test and got to know what I need to do at the highest level. It helped me set standards for myself early in my career. And now that I am back in the scheme of things, I am looking forward to do some good work and make my family, friends and all my countrymen proud,” he said.
He made his debut in the ODIs against Zimbabwe in July, after a few senior players were rested, before getting picked in the 15- member squad for the first three ODIs against Australia.
But playing against Zimbabwe and giving good performances will be close to his heart.
“Yes, it is a big break, to be picked against Australia, if you look logically. But for me, to have been picked in the ODI squad against Zimbabwe and making my debut there was no less important,” he said.
While Unadkat is waiting to get an opportunity in the playing XI, he has been preparing himself well to be ready when skipper M.S Dhoni calls on him.
“Well it’s a great feeling to be playing against a formidable opposition. You need to be right on the mark. I will make sure I do my job well when my captain wants me. I have been training to be in good shape and rhythm throughout the series and make it count when I am in the middle of doing something special. I am determined to do well for the team and win matches,” the Saurashtra pacer said.
Every bowler utilises the off- season focussing on certain areas of their bowling and Unadkat is no different.
This time, he has worked on his fitness and strength so that he can add more pace to his bowling.
“For the last couple of seasons, I have been working on my fitness and how to increase my strength. I have been able to match my level of expectation and I want to add some more yards of pace,” he said.
Unadkat makes no bones about the impact Zaheer Khan has had in resurrecting his career and feels that he has learnt quite a bit by interacting with him.
“It was very nice first up to be playing and sitting beside him in the dressing room. He is one of the legends of Indian cricket. We talked in team meetings regarding various strategies and how to go about things in matches, T20s especially, as it was IPL. It was a great experience,” he signed off.
(The interview was taken before the start of the series)