While cricketers in India are treated as demigods by the cricket-obsessed fans, it does not take long for the fans to turn against the same cricketers if the latter commit the smallest of mistakes on the field. And one cricketer who knows it very well is Jaydev Unadkat. For a bowler who made his debut for India on the tour of South Africa in 2010 as a teenager, Unadkat has not really managed to live up to the expectations.
Things finally started to look good when he finished IPL 2017 as the second-highest wicket-taker with 24 scalps to his name. His performance was one of the reasons why the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant made it to the final against all the odds. The performance not only helped him earn a recall from the Indian team but also become the costliest Indian player in the next two auctions.
But the joy was short-lived as he started facing criticism for failing to justify his huge price tag. Since 2018, he picked up only 21 wickets from 26 matches and conceded runs with 10+ economy rate. In the last season, he could manage just 10 wickets in 14 games with an economy rate of 10.66 as Rajasthan Royals failed to make it to the playoffs.
‘We are humans as well’: Jaydev Unadkat
The poor on-field performance invited heavy criticism for Jaydev Unadkat from all around. In fact, the criticism had gone to such a level that he famously lashed out at trolls. Unadkat recently opened about those criticism and stated that the fans cross the line sometimes.
“At some point, I do feel that people become so harsh they don’t realise we are humans as well. But having said that, you can’t really go to every individual and see what their mindset is. They [trolls] do it for fun, or just to get attention. People have told me to not bother about that and that social media is something I shouldn’t really look at,” Unadkat told ESPNCricinfo.
“I haven’t had anyone coming up to me and telling me anything on my face. I think those people only mention you on social media. Face to face, they won’t speak anything. That itself shows that those things don’t really matter as much as you think they do at times,” he added.
While Jaydev Unadkat said that constructive criticism helps a player in improving his game, there are people who abuse the cricketers. He further said that he is now used to all the trolls and abuse and they do not really bother him much now.
“We play this beautiful game for fans, for people to follow it and love it. But in our country, it happens that a minority do it out of hatred or jealousy. Critics can help you at times, tell you things that you don’t see in your game. But people who just abuse you all the time don’t really matter. When it started, it was difficult because I wasn’t used to it. But I’m pretty much immune to all that now. You have to develop a thick skin if you are playing cricket in India,” the pacer said.
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