The 30-year-old left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat has revealed that he received a text from the veteran Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin during the India tour of Australia 2020-21, where almost every member of the squad got the chance to play. India won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by 2-1 against Australia in the absence of several major players from the team either due to injury or unavailability and in the final Test at the Gabba, Brisbane India played inexperienced pacers like Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan.
In an interview, Unadkat said that Ashwin texted him during the Australia tour and empathized with him over not being picked in the squad for the tour. “On January 2, last year Ashwin bhai [R Ashwin] texted me during the last Australia tour, where nearly every member of the squad, including the reserve bowlers, got a chance to play the four-Test series [because of injuries]. He said: ‘I feel for you and the way you have performed in the last [Ranji] season. But be right where you are in terms of your game and your mindset. Your time will come’.”
Notably, Unadkat has only played one Test for India that came in 2010 and despite being the leading wicket-taker in the 2019–20 Ranji Trophy, with 67 scalps under his belt, he was not picked in the Test team by the selection committee. Saurashtra pacer Jaydev Unadkat said that he was amongst the group of players shortlisted by the BCCI to attend a fitness camp at the NCA and it motivated him a lot. However, he added that he has not received any support from coaches or selectors.
Unadkat also revealed that he has been told that he can’t be a net bowler because he is a senior cricketer. He elaborated, “Last year I was part of a group of players shortlisted by the BCCI to attend a fitness camp at the NCA. That kind of thing obviously motivates you. And when you go there and coaches or selectors have a word with you, saying they are a looking at you or whatever, that could be very important for us players on the fringes. That has not happened to me until now. There have been times where I was told that they do not want me as a net bowler because I am a senior player and they want to give exposure to young bowlers as net bowlers. It has been especially tough when I see India travelling overseas with a large contingent.”