Jaydev Unadkat’s dream comeback in India’s recent Test series triumph against Bangladesh has shown that performance at domestic level should not be overlooked, said ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Left-arm pacer Unadkat played his first and only Test when now head coach Rahul Dravid was his teammate way back in 2010 and since then he went out of selectors’ radar.
The 31-year-old, however, made a comeback after 12 years when he played in the second Test against Bangladesh, producing a fine performance in India’s three-wicket win in the Mirpur Test.
“He posed with the trophy and I told him you could lift this trophy because of the other trophy (Ranji trophy) that you lifted. You completely deserve for all what you have done for Saurashtra cricket,” Ashwin said on his Tamil YouTube Channel in a segment called ‘Kutty Story’.
Having led them to Ranji Trophy title in 2020 with 67 wickets, the Saurashtra skipper was once again at the forefront of their Vijay Hazare Trophy one-dayers triumph this season, that paved his way for a Test comeback.
“He bowled like an experienced pro and it is not easy. Everyone will have white ball memory and how well he didn’t bowl for Rajasthan and so on. But go and see his red ball numbers,” Ashwin said.
Unadkat claimed three wickets in the Mirpur Test.
“He has been a torchbearer of Saurashtra cricket. If Saurashtra is a power house in domestic cricket, it is because of Jaydev. He was not out in first innings and second innings I had a feeling he would be not out and hit winning runs.” After the success of IPL, the T20 tournament has become a constant feeder for Team India but Ashwin said India’s domestic tournaments such as Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy have been the real platform for Indian talents.
“In India if there is a hot selling topic, everyone will have a say about that. They forget other people’s struggle. But how well did Unadkat bowl in this Test match. It’s not easy guys.
“We should take a closer look at our domestic cricket. IPL is changing lives and it takes centre stage as it’s bread and butter.
“They are showing their ability in IPL and getting recognition with Test and ODI call ups. But 70 to 80 per cent of people playing cricket in
India are smashing doors with performances in Ranji Trophy.” Ashwin went on to cite examples of other domestic stalwarts like Sarfaraz Khan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhimanyu Easwaran.
“I can give you many examples. Unadkat, Saurabh Kumar. He plays for UP. He has a contract with Kings XI but consistently gets wickets in first class cricket.
“Shahbaz Nadeem got his opportunity too. You know Yashasvi Jaiswal through IPL. But he has scored 1500 runs in 14 or 15 first-class games.
“Sarfaraz Khan of Mumbai, they will immediately say he hasn’t scored runs in India A but a first class cricketer has to perform at every level to get selected.
“Ranji, Duleep, Irani and India A and if you fail at one level you will be criticised. Just because in IPL they perform in front of our eyes, we recognise them but we fail to recognise the hardwork of other cricketers.
“Abhimanyu Easwaran, he scores quality hundreds at Eden Gardens every year and it’s not easy,” Ashwin said.