Jaydev Unadkat has played a major role in boosting my confidence: Chetan Sakariya [Exclusive]

Sakariya has come up the ranks in the last nine months, especially with his performances in white-ball cricket.

Chetan Sakariya
Chetan Sakariya (Photo: Twitter)

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Chetan Sakariya’s rise in Indian cricket over the last nine months looks glamorous to the naked eye. But the road hasn’t been all that smooth for the 23-year-old fast bowler from Bhavnagar. Back in January when he was weaving magic for Saurashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy, he lost his brother, who died by suicide. He got to know about the development only after the tournament.

Thereafter, in the month of May, he lost his father to COVID-19 after he came back from playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the first leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League. The personal tragedies didn’t seem to have affected Sakariya’s performance on the field. He was the leading wicket-taker for Saurashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 12 wickets from five matches at an excellent economy rate of 4.90.

Sakariya was also sixth in the list of highest wicket-takers in the T20 league. In February, he fetched a deal of INR 1.20 crores from the Rajasthan Royals. In the IPL, he has picked up seven wickets from as many games at an economy rate of 8.22. On the back of his impressive show in the IPL, Sakariya earned his maiden national callup in the Indian team for the ODIs and T20Is in Sri Lanka.

In two games where he got a chance to bowl, Sakariya picked up three wickets. The speedster is now gearing up to take part in the second leg of the IPL to be played in the UAE. Amidst his busy schedule, Sakariya took time out and caught up with CricTracker for an exclusive interview. During that chat, he shared his experience of playing for Team India and talked about a number of other aspects.

Here are some excerpts from Chetan Sakariya’s interview:

1. What were you doing when you got to know about your selection in the Indian team?

I was training in Chennai for the Rajasthan Royals when I was picked for the Indian team. I got a call at night from a reporter after which I got to know about my selection in the national team. I was a little shocked as no one had informed me about the same and I didn’t get a call as well. I was told that BCCI’s official website has my name. Immediately, I went and checked the site and confirmed it.

2. You were travelling in bus when the IPL auction took place. Talk us through the moments

It was a big party out there when Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Royals were bidding for me. Everyone was cheering me at the time of bidding. It was fun and exciting.

3. How was your experience of interacting with Rahul Dravid?

Despite being a legendary cricketer, he focusses so much on the young players. He stays involved in the sport and follows the performance of the cricketers. He talked to me about my confidence level and my clarity of thoughts. It was a delight when such a massive figure of Indian cricket praised me.

4. How was the experience of sharing the dressing room with Indian players?

It was a fanboy moment for me at that point in time. We have learned a lot from their bowlers over the time period and made additions to our repertoire. I had plans of learning from them.

5. Share your opinions on Bhuvneshwar Kumar

He is a very normal person and is cool and composed. It’s not as if he’s in a lot of hurry or excitement. It’s one of the biggest positives about Bhuvi bhaiya.

6. Talk us through the dream house you aspire to have

When I dreamt of the dream house, it felt very easy that I’ll get the house with all the money that I receive. But since I have started seeing the houses, it’s become more difficult by the day. We don’t often get what we want. From the last eight to 10 months, I have been constantly looking for homes. It’s a very difficult process and I’m yet to find my dream house.

7. When did you ask your late father to stop driving autorickshaws?

My father was happy that I was free of some responsibilities and he could relax a bit. But his duty was such that he couldn’t stay without driving autorickshaws. Even after my requests, he kept doing his duties. But he drove for a very little time as his health deteriorated a little.

8. How much support do you get from the players of your Ranji team?

When you reach a senior team, you can face a lot of troubles. It’s not that your career graph only goes in the upward direction. There can be times when your rhythm is awry, you are under pressure and you are not able to perform. At that time, you need some guidance on how to improve your game.

The seniors have helped me a lot, especially Jaydev (Unadkat) bhai. On the field, he has played a major role in boosting my confidence. At times when I am not getting wickets and need to contain runs, he keeps giving me suggestions. He always stands by my side on the ground.

9. Your celebrations after getting wickets are very unique. Talk us through the same

It’s generally called the Wakanda Forever celebrations. It’s from a superhero movie, Black Panthers, in the Marvel Studios. I am a big fan of superhero movies and I admire the Wakanda Black Panthers. So, I try and do the celebrations on the ground.