New Delhi: Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat Tuesday scored his career best figures of 8 for 39 against Delhi in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. The veteran pacer broke Vinay Kumar’s record to become the first bowler in the history of the game to pick up a hattrick in the first over.
Both as a bowler and captain of Saurashtra, Unadkat has been in the middle of a fantastic run. He took the most wickets for Saurashtra last month too, when the team won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, with 19 wickets in 10 games for an economy of 3.33.
A stalwart of the domestic structure, Unadkat had also ended 2022 with a remarkable Test comeback for Team India against Bangladesh. He had finished the game with three wickets, as India won the series 2-0. But it was a long wait for 31-year-old Unadkat, exactly 12 years, to make a comeback to the Indian Test squad.
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Unadkat completed his schooling in 2009 from the St Mary’s School in Gujarat and began his cricketing journey a year later, when he got noticed by coach Ram Odedra at the Duleep Cricket School in Porbandar.
The year 2010 was spectacular for him. He performed in the Indian squad for the Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He also made his debut for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy and was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
He went on to make his debut for the India A side and got his chance to play in one game for the Indian Test squad in 2010. But the pacer did not perform well in the Test match and went out of the selectors’ radar.
Unadkat, however, went on to consistently perform in the domestic circuit. He has taken 356 wickets in 97 domestic tests so far, with a bowling average of just 23.04. These numbers are not easy to achieve unless a player is consistent in domestic matches.
He not only built his own records, but also led his team, Saurashtra, win the Ranji Trophy for the very first time in history, in 2020. Unadkat also became the second bowler for Saurashtra to take 200 wickets in the Ranji Trophy in January 2019. He was the leading wicket-taker in the 2019–20 Ranji Trophy, with 67 dismissals in 10 matches.
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Twelve years after he played his first and only Test in 2010, with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid as teammates, Unadkat was flown to Bangladesh in December 2022 as a backup option for the Test series, with Mohammad Shami not regaining full fitness. Unadkat took three wickets and India beat Bangladesh to win the series.
Unadkat had soon posted a heartwarming post, sharing a photo of his two jerseys, one from 2010 and the other from December 2022.
To the journey of all those years in between.. 🥂
— Jaydev Unadkat (@JUnadkat) December 27, 2022
Apart from his home team, Unadkat has also played for a number of IPL teams too. At Rs 2.8 crore, he was one of the costliest Indian players to be bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013.
In May 2013, he achieved his best T20 career bowling figures of 5/25 against Delhi Daredevils and was named ‘Player of the Match’.
In 2014, Unadkat was selected by the Delhi Daredevils in that year’s IPL auction, and in February 2016 Kolkata Knight Riders made a winning bid of Rs 160 lakh to secure Unadkat. In February 2017, he was bought by the Rising Pune Supergiants for a much lesser amount of Rs 30 lakh since he was not in good shape due to a fracture.
In the 10th IPL, Unadkat took a hat-trick against Sunrisers Hyderabad during the final over of the match, which was a wicket maiden over.
Even though Unadkat has given memorable performances in the domestic circuit, his consistency in IPL teams has been questioned by fans. He has appeared in different jersey colours each year and is remembered as a costly bowler who is easy for a final over batsman to hit. IPL fans have also called Unadkat ‘part of Dinda academy‘ — a term used by fans to troll any bowler after a bad performance.
Both audiences and the BCCI validates players mostly on their performance in IPL than the Ranji Trophy matches.
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