A fitter and stronger left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat is working on his backfoot landing to add a few extra miles to his pace as he aims to fill in the void left by Zaheer Khan.
“Zaheer bhai has been the spearhead of the Indian bowling for a long period of time. To fill in his boots is one of the challenges I keep for myself. Definitely it’s one of my goals — to be one of the leftarm pacers in the Indian bowling armoury,” Unadkat said after his season’s best six-wicket haul for Saurashtra in a Ranji Trophy Group B match against Assam.
Unadkat said he’s working on his backfoot landing which would still take about a couple of months to perfect.
“I’m trying to keep it more stable. It was collapsing a bit. The whole action plays a part in the backfoot landing. You tend to put in more body force and get good momentum if the landing is good, which goes away if your backfoot collapses a bit. I’m trying to correct that and get an angle. It also reduces the stress on my back as well,” he explained.
Having thrust into a dream Test XI as a 19-year-old when Zaheer strained his hamstring for the first match in South Africa in December, 2010-11, Unadkat had a forgetful debut.
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Aware that the expectations are high, he said: “It’s an advantage I would say. If a couple of pacers are doing well and one of them is a lefthander the captain would really love to have one in his armoury. We also help the spinners. We can create spots on the wicket. Yes it’s an advantage for me.
“But having said that the expectations are also high enough as far as the legacy of the lefthanders is concern.”
Fit after a back injury and stronger after an impressive India A tour to Australia, where he took six wickets from five one-dayers, Unadkat says he has better “clarity” now.
“I’ve started to analyse myself a lot after last year. After every performance I analyse what’s going wrong in my action or technique. Technical aspect I’m pretty much clear about it. That’s the difference in me than the previous three years.
“I know what to correct in practice session with that mindset. It’s pretty clear what I’m working on. Yes I have become stronger and fitter and everyone tells me that. It also helps me in my bowling to be strong enough to survive for long spells,” the 25-year-old added.
Having impressed with his seam landing as a youngster, Unadkat admits that his landing has wavered a bit.
“Seam landing was my strength when I started playing cricket, something my first coach in Porbandar was very impressed of. But in between I was not consistent enough. So these days I would throw about 20 balls, improve my wrist position before every match.”