Even though not bowling, Dube looks automatic T20 World Cup choice

Shivam Dube for CSK
Shivam Dube for CSK (PC: X)

The stellar form of Shivam Dube, particularly evident in his exploits with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL 2024, cannot be ignored. His performances present a compelling argument for his inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup squad, despite him not bowling a single delivery for CSK from 2023.

When Dube broke into the scene, he was seen as a back-up for Hardik Pandya, thanks to his secondary skill which is gentle medium-pace. However, after joining CSK in 2022, Dube has bowled just two overs for the franchise.

When he made his India debut in November 2019, opponents quickly found a few flaws in his game — troubles against short deliveries, issues against express pace and inability to rotate strike consistently. He was found out and eventually dropped in 2020, after a string of poor outings.

However, the Mumbai player got a lifeline in 2023 after a cracking IPL season. He didn’t get to bat or bowl much in the T20I series against Ireland and in the Asian Games, but did his bit with a couple of unbeaten 20s in the two games he got to bat. However, he was mighty impressive in the three-T20I series against Afghanistan earlier this year, smashing 60*, 63* and 1 while picking up two wickets and bagging the Player of the Series award.

Although primarily recognised for batting, Dube’s all-round potential cannot be overlooked. Despite limited opportunities with the ball in the IPL, his prior bowling performances, notably against Afghanistan, highlight his ability to contribute in multiple roles. However, Dube has shown that he is a capable match-winner just as a pure batter.

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Shivam Dube for CSK
Shivam Dube for CSK (Image: IPL)

Dube’s transformation since donning the CSK jersey has been extraordinary. His ability to clear the ropes consistently is unparalleled. He is leading the pack with 73 sixes since the IPL 2022 season. This striking statistic underscores his power-hitting capability, achieved even on pitches less conducive for six-hitting. This season, Dube has smashed 22 sixes. Only Nicholas Pooran (22), Heinrich Klaasen (26) and Abhishek Sharma (24) have hit more. In IPL 2023, Dube had smoked 35 sixes.

This season, Dube has accumulated 311 runs in eight matches at an impressive average of 51.83 and a blistering strike rate of 169.90. These numbers reflect his consistency and adaptability, traits essential for success in the demanding T20 format. Following his 66 off 27 against Lucknow Super Giants, former cricketers took to social media to back Dube for the T20 World Cup.

“Shivam Dube is perfect to bat after the top order and before the big hitters. Should be India’s No. 4 or No. 5 at World T20,” wrote Mohammed Kaif on X. Suresh Raina posted, “World Cup loading for Shivam dube ! @imAagarkar bhai select karo please (Ajit Agarkar, please select him)”.

What sets Dube apart now is his versatility against different attacks. He has showcased exceptional prowess against spin, boasting a strike rate of 175.68. This shows his ability to dismantle even the most seasoned spin bowlers. Since IPL 2023, there is only batter who averaged above 50 and struck at more than 150 against spin bowling in IPL and that is Dube. His average is an outstanding 55.20 and strike rate 175.79. In conditions favouring spin and slower bowlers in the Caribbean during the T20 World Cup, Dube can turn out to be an X-Factor for the Men in Blue.

Shivam Dube
Shivam Dube (PC: X)

Equally impressive is Dube’s performance against pace bowling. His strike rate against that is 160.50 as a CSK player. His recent harvest against short-pitched deliveries — 68 runs off 40 such deliveries — highlights his adeptness in counterattacking fast bowling with precision.

Dube’s impact extends beyond statistics. His presence in the CSK line-up commands opposition attention. As a middle-order dasher and finisher, Dube’s improved ability to absorb pressure before launching counterattacks is invaluable and can add a different dimension in the T20 World Cup.

Dube’s IPL resurgence with CSK presents a strong case for his inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad or perhaps in the XI as well. His consistency under pressure, adaptability against varied attacks, and role as a game-changer in crucial phases make him a valuable asset.

For now, it doesn’t matter if he is bowling in IPL or not because his numbers and impact just as a pure batter make him a solid contender for the showpiece event. As India aim to clinch a second T20 World Cup, Dube emerges as a compelling choice to bolster the team’s prospects.

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