Why Shivam Dube ahead of Rinku Singh makes no sense

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In the wake of India’s T20 World Cup squad announcement, the spotlight has shone brightly on the exclusion of Rinku Singh and the inclusion of Shivam Dube. While Dube’s IPL performances initially justified his selection due to his dual role as a power-hitter and a bowler, recent matches have brought his bowling prowess into question. Despite being part of the playing XI in the last four matches, Dube has only bowled one over, raising doubts about his all-round utility.

This begs the question: if Dube’s bowling isn’t trusted in the IPL, how can he be relied upon in the international arena, especially in a high-stakes tournament like the T20 World Cup? This article delves into the rationale behind Dube’s selection over Rinku, and whether Rinku’s batting prowess should earn him a spot in the squad if Dube’s bowling continues to be under-utilised.

Let’s dive into the stats. In T20Is for India between 2023 and 2024, Rinku’s numbers spoke volumes. With 356 runs in 11 innings at an impressive average of 89.00 and a scorching strike-rate of 176.24, Rinku consistently delivered match-winning performances. Dube’s contributions, while respectable, pale in comparison, with 171 runs in five innings and a slightly lower strike-rate of 151.33. The numbers don’t lie: Rinku’s consistency and ability to score quickly make him a formidable force in the shortest format of the game.

Even in the IPL, where Dube’s performances have garnered attention, Rinku has held his own. Despite limited opportunities, Rinku has managed to rack up 168 runs in 11 innings for Kolkata Knight Riders, showcasing his ability to perform under pressure. Dube, on the other hand, may have scored more runs for Chennai Super Kings, but Rinku’s impact with the bat cannot be overlooked.

What truly sets Rinku apart, however, is his ability to perform under pressure and deliver when it matters most. His match-winning knocks against Australia, South Africa, and Afghanistan underscored his temperament and ability to thrive in high-pressure situations. Whether it was steering India to victory from precarious positions or anchoring the innings with a calculated approach, Rinku consistently proved his worth on the international stage. Since it’s a World Cup, you want someone tried and tested in the finisher’s role.

Furthermore, Dube has predominantly batted at No. 4 for both the Indian team and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL. However, with the return of Suryakumar Yadav, securing the No. 4 spot becomes highly unlikely. The only scenario where Dube could potentially bat at No. 4 is if Kohli and Rohit Sharma open the batting. In contrast, India, irrespective of whether Kohli opens or not, require a reliable finisher at positions 5 and 6, precisely where Rinku excels. He has consistently delivered in those positions, boasting an average of 50.75 and a strike rate of 175 in T20Is in 2023-24. On the other hand, Dube has only played one innings at No. 5, and his strike-rate has failed to surpass 160 in any of the batting positions (No. 4, 5 or 6). In the context of finishers, strike-rate reigns supreme in T20Is, and Rinku significantly outshines Dube in this aspect.

In view of these factors, it becomes increasingly clear that Rinku’s omission from India’s T20 World Cup squad was a glaring oversight. His consistent performances, ability to perform under pressure, and versatility with the bat make him a valuable asset in the team’s quest for glory. As the tournament draws near, one can only hope that the selectors reconsider their decision and give Rinku the opportunity he rightfully deserves to represent his country on the global stage. After all, in the world of cricket, it’s often the unsung heroes who shine the brightest.

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