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India’s forgotten man who Australia must fear in the WTC Final

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Roar Guru
18th March, 2023

After poor over rates cost Australia a World Test Championship Final spot in 2021, the Aussies showed better application en route to becoming the first side to make the 2021-23 WTC Final at The Oval.

Facing off against a Rohit Sharma-led Indian side, Australia will start favourites in the Final with Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah missing out due to injuries. However, that is not to say India cannot win at all.

The Indians have a trump card up their sleeve that they opted not to use in the recent edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. And that trump card is Jaydev Unadkat.

Who is Jaydev Unadkat?

He is a left arm seamer hailing from the Porbandar district in the state of Gujarat. He has played the majority of his first class cricket for the Saurashtra cricket team, who have produced two cricketers that have tormented the Australian cricket team in recent years – Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja.

When did Unadkat rise to prominence?

Unadkat was part of the Indian 2010 U19 World Cup squad which included future Indian internationals Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul. Unadkat led the attack, and grabbed a deal with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL – where bowling coach Wasim Akram rated him so highly that he was fast tracked into the India A first class team for their series against West Indies A.

Making his first class debut for India A as an 18-year-old, Unadkat had the dream debut – taking 13 wickets across both innings. His rampant rise continued, making the Indian Test squad against Australia in 2010 with just two matches’ experience in first class cricket.


(Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Has Unadkat played Test cricket for India?

Yes, Unadkat has played Test cricket for India. He made his Test debut in December 2010 against South Africa. However, it went anything but to plan. India’s batting line-up got skittled out for 136 in Centurion on a flat wicket.

With a lack of first innings runs, South Africa attacked the debutant, with Unadkat finishing with figures of 0/101 after 26 overs as the Proteas ended up winning by an innings and 25 runs.

Unadkat was dropped for Zaheer Khan for the following Test, and was then dropped from the Indian Test squad overall.

It seemed Unadkat would finish his Test career as a one-Test man, but he never gave up. With strong performances in the Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra as their skipper, Unadkat was recalled to the Indian Test squad for the tour of Bangladesh.


After missing out on selection due to visa issues for the first Test, Unadkat played his second Test match in Dhaka – taking three wickets with threatening spells on a pitch offering uneven bounce and scoring crucial runs as India won a low-scoring thriller. Unadkat was in the Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but did not play in any of the Tests.

What makes Unadkat a tough customer in red-ball cricket?

Unadkat does not have the pace of someone like Mitchell Starc, but he still gets wickets. He can swing the ball both ways, and when the ball is not swinging, he goes around the wicket to right handers and creates different angles to manufacture as many chances as possible.

Unadkat has 382 first class wickets in 101 matches, averaging 22.41 with the ball at a strike rate of 45.55 with 22 five-fers and five 10-wicket hauls (across innings).

Now 31, Unadkat is a veteran of Indian first class cricket who is much better prepared for Test cricket than the 19-year-old version of him was – fast-tracked into an arena without much preparation. In English conditions, Unadkat has to be a shoo-in. The Indians have been yearning for a left arm seamer as good as Zaheer Khan.

With the red ball in his hand, Unadkat can be Zaheer Khan 2.0. Unadkat also has a first class average of 18.48 with the bat, with eight 50s to his name. Indian seamers usually do not contribute much with the bat, but Unadkat can help that massively with his lower order runs.

Unadkat’s bowling stats in first class matches in India since the 2015-16 season


2015-16 – 45 wickets, 21.08 average

2016-17 – 24 wickets, 21.16 average

2017-18 – 24 wickets, 26.91 average

2018-19 – 46 wickets, 17.73 average

2019-20 – 76 wickets, 14.77 average

2021-22 – 9 wickets, 25.11 average

2022-23 – 43 wickets, 15.83 average


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