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Kumar Sangakkara wanted me to start afresh: Jaydev Unadkat opens up about IPL journey, India comeback chances

Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat said he had a chat with newly-appointed Rajasthan Royals Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara before the IPL 2021 season and the former Sri Lanka captain had outlined plans for him, asking him to start afresh.

Unadkat was in his fourth season with the Royals but the Saurashtra pacer said he was asked to reset his goals and be the wicket-taker for the side in the powerplay overs. The left-arm pacer was retained by the Royals for the 2021 season and he did well, picking up 4 wickets, including a 3-wicket haul, in as many matches before IPL 2021 was suspended.

Unadkat was a strong contender for the Purple Cap in the 2017 season wherein he finished with 24 wickets while playing for Rising Pune Supergiant. He was bought for Rs 11.50 crore by Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2018 auction but the price tag pressure weighed heavily on him. Unadkat managed just 25 wickets over the last 3 seasons. He was released by the Royals before IPL 2020 and was bought back for Rs 3 crore.

“Though it was my fourth season with the team, Sangakkara wanted me to start afresh. The management wanted wickets from me with the new ball this season and I was able to do alright on that front whenever I got to play,” Unadkat told the Press Trust of India.

“It was obviously a tough experience with the thing with the way things were shaping outside the IPL bubble. You were praying for everyone’s well being outside . Inside the bubble, the management was was doing all that it could to do to take care of us,” Unadkat added.

My time will come: Unadkat on India comeback

Meanwhile, Unadkat sees himself in his prime for the next 3-4 years and repeated snubs from the Indian team selectors will not deter him from “pushing his limits”.

29-year-old Unadkat, whose only Test appearance came in 2010 and last played for India in 2018, had led Saurashtra to their maiden Ranji Trophy title in 2020 with a record-breaking 67 wickets in the season.

With no red ball cricket possible in the country since then due to the pandemic, Unadkat has been left disappointed by non-selection for the Australia tour, the home series against England and now the UK tour.

He doesn’t even figure in the standbys for the UK tour, something which surprised even former selector Sarandeep Singh, whose tenure ended with the Australia tour earlier this year.

“I will be biased if I talk about my selection. I genuinely believe that I am in a phase of my career where the next three, four years I will be at my prime,” he added.

“I’ve been taking those wickets as well, it actually proves the fact that I am in a good space and I’m finding ways to get people out on different tracks in different conditions. And because of that, I do believe that my time will come.

“The selection again is a tricky thing and normally you would have performance of India A tours to consider besides domestic cricket but that hasn’t happened in pandemic.

“I just feel more motivated than ever to keep doing what I am doing to keep taking wickets, keep pushing my own limits and pushing those standards higher and higher.”

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India Today

India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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