Comeback of the giant: Unadkat on zonal format

West Zone and Saurashtra left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat termed Duleep Trophy’s return to the traditional zonal format as the “comeback of the giant”.
Jaydev Unadkat
Jaydev Unadkat

CHENNAI: West Zone and Saurashtra left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat termed Duleep Trophy’s return to the traditional zonal format as the “comeback of the giant”.

The prestigious red-ball competition was last hosted in the zonal format in the 2014-15 season. In the last few seasons, the BCCI had introduced a new format featuring only three teams – namely India Blue, India Red and India Green. In the upcoming Duleep Trophy that will be held in Tamil Nadu from September 8 to 25, six teams – North, South, East, West, North East and Central – will compete for the crown.

“This (zonal) is the format I played when I started my career. Duleep Trophy was always played in the zonal format. It held a lot of importance back then. Now that we are in an era where there are less number of red-ball matches, I think that it will hold a lot of importance,” Unadkat, leader of West Zone’s bowling pack, said on Tuesday.

“With the Duleep Trophy (which is making a comeback after two seasons), we get some more matches to prove that we have been good throughout the season. There is a gap between the Ranji Trophy and the time when the India teams (senior and ‘A’) are selected. When you have a tournament like this, it fills up the gap. We get to show our form as well. It (Duleep Trophy) is very important to me,” added Unadkat.

The 30-year-old emphasised that he is at a phase where selection calls no longer affect him and his game. Despite consistent performances in first-class cricket, Unadkat has just a solitary India Test appearance under his belt.

“There are two sides to it. One side is me being disappointed at times after having delivered good performances but not got picked. The other side is me enjoying whatever I am doing. I feel a lot more confident about myself and my skills in red-ball cricket. I see myself at a stage where I am not bothered about not being picked [for the national teams],” said Unadkat, who has earned 336 wickets in 92 first-class matches.

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