India’s quest for a dependable backup for the injury-prone Hardik Pandya is a long-standing concern. Hardik, a match-winner in white-ball cricket, has unfortunately been hampered by back and ankle injuries in recent World Cups, leaving the team imbalanced. Enter Shivam Dube, a 30-year-old all-rounder who has emerged as a potential solution.
Shivam Dube’s journey to the national team hasn’t been smooth. His debut in 2019 came under similar circumstances, seeking to fill the Pandya void, but it wasn’t until his stellar performance for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2023 that he truly earned another shot. In the recent three-match series against Afghanistan, Shivam Dube showcased his impressive skills, earning him the Player of the Series award.
His back-to-back half-centuries, particularly against spinners, were reminiscent of Hardik’s own game-winning performances. Dube also chipped in with two wickets throughout the series, displaying his all-round capabilities.
So, has Shivam Dube done enough to impress head coach Rahul Dravid and secure a spot in the upcoming T20 World Cup? Dravid, while remaining cautious, acknowledged Dube’s improvement and emphasized his valuable skillset.
“He has certainly put his hand up and said, ‘Look, here I am and these are the skills I possess,'” Rahul Dravid said. “He really showed us that he has got some really good ability through those middle overs against spin. Also with the ball. He bowled some good overs and he has learned some lessons as well that it can be a very unforgiving bowling in a place like Bangalore.”
While Hardik Pandya remains the undisputed first-choice all-rounder for the World Cup, provided he stays injury-free, Dube’s recent success provides India with a much-needed sense of security. He has proven himself to be a viable backup option, offering both batting and bowling prowess that could be crucial in the high-pressure tournament.
It’s still too early to say definitively whether Dube will make the final World Cup squad, but his impressive performance against Afghanistan has undoubtedly strengthened his case. He has shown the necessary skills and temperament to step up when needed, and his presence as a reliable backup for Hardik Pandya could prove to be a major asset for India’s World Cup ambitions.
Dube’s success serves as a reminder that there’s always potential for talent to emerge and shine. While Hardik Pandya remains a key player for India, the emergence of promising players like Dube ensures that the future of Indian cricket is bright.