A part of India’s squad in the first Border Gavaskar Test against Australia in Nagpur, Jaydev Unadkat has now been released by the Indian management. The left-arm pacer will now be available for Saurashtra’s Ranji Trophy final clash against Bengal. The second Test and the Ranji Trophy are colliding with each other. The Ranji final starts in Eden Gardens on February 16 while the second Test in Delhi will begin the day after.
As it is understood, Unadkat himself requested the management to be released so he can appear for Saurashtra in the final. The 31-year old is the designated skipper for Saurashtra this season.
“The All-India Senior Selection Committee in consultation with the Indian team management has decided to release Jaydev Unadkat from India’s squad for the 2nd Test of the Mastercard Australia tour of India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy,” BCCI wrote on their website.
Unadkat’s comeback is a massive boost to Saurashtra’s chances. Although he has played only three games in this Ranji season, Unadkat has been the lynchpin of their bowling attack for quite a while. Since the 2019/20 season, the last time Saurashtra won the trophy, the paceman has 93 wickets at only 14.5 runs apiece while striking every 30.4 deliveries.
It is on the basis of this record that Unadkat made a comeback to the Test team, playing his second Test in Bangladesh in December last year, after his debut in 2010.
This season, Unadkat has 17 wickets in three games - 13.6 average, 27.2 strike-rate.
Unadkat wasn’t a part of the XI in the first Test in Nagpur. According to the perceived pecking order of the pacers in India and considering the hosts will play only two pacers at max, Unadkat’s chances of playing the Delhi Test were also grim. Hence, Unadkat’s keenness to be released and join the Saurashtra side ahead of the final makes a lot of sense.
Saurashtra qualified for the 2022/23 Ranji Trophy final after registering an outright win over Karnataka, beating them by four wickets.