After long-awaited second chance, Jaydev Unadkat should be part of India’s plans for Tests against Australia: Karsan Ghavri | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: “Chase your dreams, they do come true”. Jaydev Unadkat is literally living these words that batting legend Sachin Tendulkar spoke after he bid adieu to international cricket. After a wait of 12 years and 2 days, Saurashtra fast bowler Unadkat got to wear India’s Test whites again; and former India all-rounder Karsan Ghavri has no doubt that he will make the most of his long-awaited second chance.
Unadkat was 19 when he was included in the MS Dhoni-led Test side on the tour of South Africa in 2010. India played a three-match Test series and Unadkat was handed a debut.
But the debut didn’t go the way Unadkat expected. He bowled 26 overs and went wicketless, conceding 101 runs. India lost the match by an innings and 25 runs, and the left-arm pacer was dropped from the remaining two Tests. But he never imagined that he will not get another chance to play in the longest format for more than a decade.
However, Unadkat kept on waiting, toiled hard at nets, took wickets in domestic cricket, bagged several Man-of-the-Match awards and kept knocking at the selectors’ door.
Eventually, after 12 year, he got the call-up for the two-match Test series against Bangladesh.


(ANI Photo)
But Unadkat had to wait a bit further, when he was not included in the eleven for the first Test. But he eventually got the chance in the second Test and took his maiden Test wicket in the form of Bangladesh opener Zakir Hasan and went on to claim three wickets in the match.
“It is a brilliant comeback after 12 years. Age is just a number for him,” former India pacer Karsan Ghavri said talking to in an exclusive interview. “If a player doesn’t get a chance for 3 or 4 or say 5 years, they tend to give up, they lose hope. But Unadkat is a real fighter.
“Twelve years is a long period. He kept working hard. He kept on taking wickets in domestic cricket and IPL, and now he is back. It’s a huge thing, an example of determination and never-say-die attitude.”
Ghavri added that age becomes secondary if form and fitness are on the player’s side.
“When Dinesh Karthik can play at the age of 37 and perform well for India, why not Unadkat? Unadkat has been consistent in Ranji Trophy. He has been taking wickets. He is back in the Indian side and I am sure he will play a big and long role here. So age has nothing to do with cricketing abilities. It is all about fitness and form. Unadkat has both the boxes ticked,” Ghavri, who played 39 Tests and 19 ODIs for India between 1975 and 1981, said.


(AP Photo)
Ghavri was Saurashtra coach in 2019 and Unadkat was leading the side. He became the highest wicket-taker in the season (2019-20), taking 67 wickets in 10 matches, including 7 five-wicket hauls and three 10-wicket hauls.
Unadkat not just bagged the most wickets in that season but also also guided his team to the title win.
Overall, Unadkat has played 97 first-class matches since his debut in 2010 and has 356 wickets, including 20 five-wicket hauls and five 10-wicket hauls.
“In 2019, I spoke with the selectors about Unadkat because I (had) played with them and they are my friends. I told them that this guy (Unadkat) is taking wickets in almost every match he is playing. (But) They said ‘no, we will not consider him; his age is a problem’. I told them age has nothing to do with cricketing abilities. Unadkat was at his best. He is still one of the best bowlers in our country, and he was doing tremendously well in 2019 and India could use his magnificent form,” Ghavri said.
“He deserved to be in the Indian time in 2019. He was the highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy that season. He was at his peak. But he had to wait for three more years to don the Indian jersey again. As we say ‘der aaye durust aaye’ (better late than never). Unadkat’s arrival in world cricket again is an apt statement,” he said.


(Karsan Ghavri – TOI Photo)
“I knew he will reap the rewards of his hard work. I never saw that ‘give up’ expression on him. He was just going with the flow and the best part was that he was keen on trying new things every day. He was putting in all the hard work. He was a captain as well as a great team man. Finally, he got the chance.
“He is 31. I saw his bowling (against Bangladesh) on TV and he bowled the way he did in Ranji Trophy matches. When he got his first Test wicket, I was clapping for him. I could see the happiness and relief on his face…He is more clever now. He plans things accurately and the best part is that he is a complete team man,” Ghavri added.
After Bangladesh Tests, India are now slated to face Australia in four-match Test series at home in February-March next year.
Ghavri feels Unadkat should be part of India’s Test plan in all four matches against Australia.
“Unadkat shouldn’t be dropped. He should be given a long rope now. We will be playing versus Australia now and Unadkat should play all the Tests in the series. He bowled really well in this Test match (against Bangladesh). He deserves to be in the Indian side for some time. It’s a great fightback and a great comeback from Unadkat. He is a special player,” he said.
“I am sure India’s search for a left-arm pacer would end if he gets to play all the Tests versus Australia at home,” Ghavri signed off.

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