It was in 2010 when the national selectors had fast-tracked a 19-year-old Jaydev Unadkat into the Indian Test squad for the tour of South Africa. The youngster was thrown into the ring by the then captain MS Dhoni in the first Test at Centurion and needless to say, the left-arm pacer had a forgettable match, like most of his teammates barring Sachin Tendulkar, who scored his 50th Test hundred there.
Jacques Kallis struck a double hundred while Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers satiated themselves with big hundreds as South Africa made 620 for 4 and went on to win the Test by an innings and 25 runs. A selector on that tour wasn't amused by some of the observations made by the media about Undakat's pace, or lack of it.
"We have followed him like a hawk. Believe me, he is ready for international cricket," he said while justifying the decision to blood a rookie in a demanding series. That is the only Test Unadkat has played till date as he got lost in the wilderness of domestic cricket.
Things, however, have started to look up for the 26-year-old since last year and this year he finished the 10th edition of the IPL as the second highest wicket-taker with 24 wickets for Rising Pune Supergiant. Of late, Unadkat has even worked on his batting skills. Batting at No. 9 against New Zealand in the second warm-up game on Thursday, Unadkat slammed a quick-fire 44 off just 24 deliveries to add to his 4-57 earlier in the day. "I did (add a new dimension to my game). I was batting well since the last two seasons in domestic cricket, but I have got the confidence now and I am happy that it is working well on the bigger stage and today's innings will boost my confidence," he said.
The pacer struck three sixes and five fours to reduce the margin of defeat during his entertaining knock. Unadkat said he derived confidence from the good show he put up in the IPL. "The way I was bowling in the IPL gave me a lot of confidence, and sometimes it's all about confidence for a bowler. I am looking in good rhythm and I am confident of bowling what I want to bowl," he noted.