India, here on 24 December, managed to inflict a 3-0 series whitewash on Sri Lanka with a five-wicket win in the third Twenty20 International (T20I) match.
Jaydev Unadkat, who was awarded the Man of the Match and the Series, said grinding in the domestic seasons matured him as a player and made his comeback possible.
"I have certainly matured as a player. Any player who plays through the Indian domestic circuit, playing the T20s, one-dayers and Ranji Trophy on flat tracks, I come from Saurashtra and we have some really flat tracks there, will mature. That time it's you, who has to back yourself and motivate. Those are the times when you go through the grind and you make out what your abilities are, where you need to improve. So I think, going through the grinds in the domestic seasons after making my test debut, having already known what it requires to be in the highest level, did help me in that part of my career," he said while addressing the post match conference.
The 26-year-old paceman has had an interesting career, making his Test debut at the age of 19 during South Africa tour in 2010. Three years later, he made his ODI debut and after another three years, he made his T20I debut.
Talking about his career, Unadkat said, "I was performing really well when I made my test debut. The only thing which probably helped me to become a better bowler, to gain some more skills in my armoury is that I have become a lot stronger than what I was, when I made my debut. May be for a fast bowler that really helps to build on the skill is the fitness and it's something I just made out straight away when I came to the international circuit. To be playing every format and throughout the year, it's really important to improve on the fitness aspect. It is not something related to the game directly."
The bowler, who earlier has suffered at the hands of batsmen due to limited control over his variations, seems to have found new confidence with using slower-ones in high-pressure situations.
"Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) does it extremely well in pressure situations. We have seen Jasprit (Bumrah) doing it for India as well. Seeing those guys, I try to learn it myself, that be it any situation, pressure or normal situation, I need to back my strengths. Earlier, I would say I wasn't completely backing myself to go for those variations in pressure situations. I just thought that this is the need of the hour, so I shouldn't think of my strengths. But then time came when I realised I should back myself. It's not about what others tell me is a good ball to bowl at a particular time. It's about what I think is my strength," he explained, while speaking about how he has started backing himself more.
With this, the left-handed pace bowler also added that seeing such a stiff competition, he has realised that he has to raise his performance bar.
"Seeing these guys do really well at the international level, I knew if I want to be a part of it, I really need to improve my standard. That's the point of view that everyone has now that there's such a stiff competition. It is all going good for our team and we can see the results as well," he said.
Chasing Sri Lanka's 136-run, India, who had to struggled in the first half, hosted established victory with four balls to spare, towards the staggering end.
In reply to Sri Lanka's modest 135 for seven, India lost in-form openers - captain Rohit Sharma (27) and KL Rahul (4) - early. For a long time, India's chase scoreboard crawled with runs mostly coming in singles.
Dinesh Karthik (18 not out) hit a massive six off Nuwan Pradeep's full toss in the last ball of the 19th over and tilted the match in India's favour.
Jaydev Unadkat was the pick of Indian bowlers with figures of 4-0-15-2.
Sri Lanka now head home with just one ODI win from this tour, while India move to South Africa with smashing victories in all three formats.
Meanwhile, in the match, India stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma earned himself another laurel as he now has hit 65 sixes this year in all formats - the highest in a calendar year by any batsman.