Feeling like two million bucks: Little-known bowler thrust into IPL spotlight

He isn’t well known on the international stage, but fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat has been thrust into the cricketing limelight after being handed a bumper payday by the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Heads turned when the Rajasthan Royals paid $1.8‑million for the left-arm seamer, making him the most expensive Indian player at this year’s IPL auction. Even Unadkat said he was surprised by the price tag, which will earn him more than $100 000 a game in next month’s competition.

The 26-year-old was second only to England all-rounder Ben Stokes at the auction, despite a stop-start international career so far.

But hopes are high that the “Prince of Porbandar” — nicknamed after his home city in Gujarat — could become a fixture in India’s T20 team.

“He is a very promising bowler and will only get better with the more matches he plays,” according to former India captain Sunil Gavaskar.

Unadkat was just 19 when he made his only Test appearance against South Africa at Centurion in 2010. He failed to take a wicket in 26 overs, gave away 101 runs and was promptly dropped. Unadkat then spent three years in the international wilderness before playing seven ODIs in 2013. It wasn’t until June 2016 that he made his T20 debut for India.

But his limited-overs international career received a shot in the arm late last year when he shone in a series against Sri Lanka. Unadkat finished with four wickets in three matches at an economy rate of 4.88, the lowest on either side. — AFP

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Faisal Kamal
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