'I don't think RCB will expect anything extra from me'
Jaydev Unadkat tells Bikash Mohapatra he will justify the price Royal Challengers Bangalore paid for him at the IPL auction and and prove his worth this season.
The auction ahead of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) provided quite a few shockers.
One of the many was the acquisition of Jaydev Unadkat, by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The fact that the 21-year-old was picked up wasn't a surprise, considering the bowler had given a good account of himself in whatever limited opportunities he had got at Kolkata Knight Riders.
However, it was the amount of money that the Bangalore franchise coughed up for his services that shocked quite a few.
Unadkat was purchased for more than five times his base price (US $100,000) – at US $525,000. No points for guessing the bowler was ecstatic at getting a lucrative deal.
"I am very happy. It's a new team for me and I'm waiting to be a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore dressing room," Unadkat told rediff.com, in an exclusive interview following the auction.
"I will try to justify the price and prove my worth this season," he added.
The Saurashtra bowler admitted he was left amazed by the Bangalore franchise's high bid for his services.
"I didn't have any expectations ahead of the auction. But, yeah, I was a bit surprised," said Unadkat, before clearing any notions that a big deal would mean increased pressure.
"I think the teams bidding for me did it for a purpose," he explained, adding, "It was about bolstering their team composition.
"I don't think RCB will expect anything extra from me besides doing my job as a bowler.
"So there's no added pressure whatsoever."
It wasn't just Unadkat on whom the Bangalore franchise splurged on.
Photograph: Bikash Mohapatra/Rediff.com
'More bowling options will make it a healthy competition'
RCB in fact bolstered their fast bowling arsenal considerably, acquiring the likes of RP Singh (US $400,000), Moises Henriques (US $300,000), Ravi Rampaul (US $290,000), Pankaj Singh (US $150,000) and Daniel Christian (US $100,000).
It wasn't a surprising move considering Zaheer Khan isn't yet fit and the likes of R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and Sreenath Aravind didn't quite make an impact in last season's campaign.
The move does ensure the Bangalore outfit a problem of plenty.
However, Unadkat seemed unperturbed about the potential problem.
"It would be a healthy competition. There a lot of domestic bowlers in the team.
"To get a chance in the playing eleven would be a big thing for me. I just want to go out and perform.
"Besides, there will be a chance to learn from Zaheerbhai. So I think it will be a good experience for me," he said.
Photograph: Bikash Mohapatra/Rediff.com
'I am bowling at a decent pace and getting the ball to move'
The news of his acquisition by RCB came close on the heels of a successful domestic season, where he played his part in Saurashtra making it to their first Ranji Trophy final in 75 years – before losing to Mumbai.
It was an experience that the young bowler cherished.
"We had a good season and made it to the finals. Hard luck we couldn't win it It was really difficult to come all the way and miss out. But they (Mumbai) played really well," he said.
"However, he explained, "the good thing is we won a lot of matches and were in the finals for the first time. We look forward to playing many more finals in the future."
Having contributed 20 wickets to the Saurashtra cause, the bowler was left ruing the lack of seaming wickets.
"We played six of our 11 matches in Rajkot and to bowl on those flat tracks is really difficult," said Unadkat, before proceeding to elaborate upon his point.
"Personally I am happy with my rhythm at present. I am bowling at a decent pace and getting the ball to move both ways.
"I have also getting wickets in almost all the matches. It is just that the wickets aren't coming in plenty. But that would happen in time."
'In T20 cricket being hit for runs is not demoralizing'
However, there was one aspect where the 21-year-old had worked upon in the off-season and enjoyed the results during it.
"Fitness was the main area of concern for me ahead of this season," admitted Unadkat.
"Last year I missed out due to a groin injury and so this year I was focusing on playing out the whole season and giving effort till the last match.
"This year we played 11 matches and I played in all of them, giving more than 100 per cent towards the team cause.
"I'm really happy with the fact that I remained fit throughout the season."
Having secured a lucrative deal, Unadkat also was aware of the fact that T20 isn't exactly a bowler-friendly format.
"In T20 you just have to get your strategies right and have an alternate plan," he admitted, adding, "Because on one day you might bowl well and yet go for runs, and on the other, you can get a few wickets without having bowled well.
"In T20 cricket being hit for runs by the batsman is not at all demoralizing. We have played enough of T20 cricket to know how it works out for a bowler."
Having said that, the bowler looked set to start his preparation for the IPL at the earliest.
"My next focus will be on the Ranji one-dayers and it will be followed by the state T20 games," said Unadkat.
"In the next few weeks I will work in such a way that I don't come across as underprepared when reporting in the Bangalore camp."