Jaydev Unadkat’s dream comeback in India’s recent Test series triumph against Bangladesh has shown that performance at the national level should not be overlooked, said ace-off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Left arm pacer Unadkat played his first and only test when head coach Rahul Dravid was now his teammate in 2010 and he has since disappeared from the selectors’ radar.
However, the 31-year-old made a comeback after 12 years when he played in the second Test against Bangladesh and put in a fine performance in India’s three-wicket victory 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) you lifted. You fully deserve what you have done for the Saurashtra cricket,” said Ashwin on his Tamil YouTube channel in a segment called “Kutty Story”.
After leading them to the 2020 Ranji Trophy title with 67 wickets, the Saurashtra skipper has again been at the forefront of their Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day triumph this season, paving the way for a Test comeback.
“He bowled like an experienced pro and that’s not easy. Everyone will have a white ball memory and how well he bowled for Rajasthan and so on. But go see his red ball numbers,” said Ashwin.
Unadkat claimed three wickets in the Mirpur test.
“He has been a torchbearer of Saurashtra cricket. If Saurashtra is a powerhouse in domestic cricket, it’s because of Jaydev. He wasn’t out in the first innings and in the second innings I felt like he wasn’t going to be out and score 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 like Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy are the real platform for Indian talents.
“If there is a hot selling topic in India, everyone has something to say about it. They forget other people’s struggles. But how well did Unadkat do in this test match. It’s not easy guys.
“We should take a closer look at our domestic cricket. IPL changes lives and takes center stage because it’s bread and butter.
“They demonstrate their proficiency in IPL and gain recognition with test and ODI calls. But 70 to 80 percent of the people who play cricket
India smashes 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 takes wickets in first-class cricket.
“Shahbaz Nadeem also got his chance. You know Yashasvi Jaiswal through IPL. But he has scored 1500 points in 14 or 15 first-class games.
“Sarfaraz Khan from Mumbai, they will immediately say that he has not scored any points in India A, but a first-class cricketer has to perform at every level to be selected.
“Ranji, Duleep, Irani and India A and if you fail on one level you will be criticized. Just because they perform in front of our eyes in IPL, we recognize them, but fail to recognize the hard work of other cricketers.
“Abhimanyu Easwaran, he scores hundreds of quality every year in Eden Gardens and it’s not easy,” said Ashwin.