Former India fast bowler Karsan Ghavri, who was Saurashtra's head coach when they won their maiden Ranji Trophy title in 2019-20, has revealed that the Indian selection committee feels 29-year-old Jaydev Unadkat is now too old to play for India.
Unadkat recently said that he was "disappointed but not frustrated" after being ignored for the tour of England despite doing exceedingly well in the previous edition of Ranji Trophy. The veteran left-arm seamer from Saurashtra picked up 67 wickets — the most by a pacer in a Ranji season — at an impressive average of 13.23 and a strike rate of 28.2.
Unadkat has played one Test, seven ODIs and 10 T20Is but hasn't represented India since March 2018. The likes of Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan recently played in Australia when senior bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami were down with respective injuries.
India are now scheduled to play six Tests in England, including the inaugural World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Apart from Natarajan (injured), all of the aforementioned six fast bowlers are part of the squad, with Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla and Prasidh Krishna being the standby seamers. India needed one left-arm pacer for the tour and they decided to go with Gujarat's Nagwaswalla over Unadkat.
"I asked a selector during the Ranji Trophy final (2019-20) that if a bowler takes more than 60 wickets and has taken his team into the final of the Ranji Trophy single-handedly, shouldn't he be at least picked for India A. That selector told me: 'Kadu bhai, he won't be picked for India anymore. His name is not even considered by us when we think of 30-odd players.' 'Why not, I asked him.' 'Then what's the point of him picking so many wickets? I was told that 'he's already 32-33. Age is spoiling his case. It has put a full stop to his India career,'" Ghavri told Times of India.
"Why should we invest in an older player? We would rather pick a 21, 22 or a 23-year-old player if he's good, he can serve India for 8-10-12 years. If we pick Unadkat today, how many years will he serve India for?' This is what that selector told me."
Unadkat has played 89 first-class encounters and picked up 327 wickets at an average of 23.21. India are scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka in July for some white-ball cricket and Ghavri feels Unadkat might be ignored for that tour as well.
"I wish he gets picked for the Sri Lanka tour atleast, but it's very difficult for him to break the ice and get into the Indian team, because the selectorial policy is something else only."