Few players in the ongoing one-day series in Zimbabwe will be looking forward to the second one-dayer in Harare on Friday like Indias Jaydev Unadkat. The fast bowler from Saurashtra,making his comeback into the Team India fold after a 31-month gap,has a couple of reasons for this eager anticipation.
For one,it will be the first time that Unadkat will play a second match for India in the same format,having been dropped after his solitary Test against South Africa in December 2010. Secondly,the new ball is known to do a bit in Harare and the ODI debutant from Wednesday will look to cash in on this second coming.
The Zimbabwe series has come at a perfect time for players looking for a toehold in the Indian squad,and no one appreciates this chance better than Saurashtra pacer Jaidev Unadkat. The second ODI on Friday will see Indians try increase their lead in the series,but in Unadkats case,it is also about proving a point that his one-Test appearance three years ago wasnt a freak occurrence,and he has the wherewithal to last international cricket. That,the last time he made the team wasnt merely luck by chance.
Last year same time as clouds hovered in the skies and rains made cricketers miserable and restless,Unadkat was dealing with a gloom of his own. He had helplessly slipped into a zone where many domestic cricketers find themselves an unbreakable freefall,after having found early success. He was not been picked for the India A side which was travelling to West Indies and New Zealand,whereas it struck him that he had hit a wall as far as improvements in his bowling went.
There was no coach he could turn to who would answer his endless questions. Clueless and craving guidance from anyone reliable,Unadkat went into a shell. For a youngster who had made his Test debut before going through the grind in domestic cricket,success had come too soon,and left his side even quicker. Unadkat was found out on the big stage at Centurion where he went wicketless.
I played for India A in June 2010 and by that December Id already made my international Test debut. Everything happened so fast. I was over-confident and thought nothing could go wrong, he said.
So when picked for Zimbabwe,Unadkat sensed an opening. At Harare,India watched two debutants Ambati Rayudu and Unadkat give a decent account of themselves in the shorter format. Unadkat might have got only one wicket,Zimbabwe captain Brendon Taylors,but Sikandar Raza,who slammed 82,said the left-arm pacer had been tough to handle on Wednesday as Zimbabwe trundled to 228.
He was getting the ball to move in and then following it up with one that was going away. So we had to be very cautious and keep our eye closely on the way he was bowling, Raza had said post match.
So how did he get back into the groove? He never let go of his optimism. The 2011-12 domestic season saw him take 26 wickets but Saurashtra continued…