India's search for a back-up for Hardik Pandya sees a new interviewee as Shivam Dube makes his debut in the shortest format of the game. Dube, much like Pandya, is a hard-hitting batsman, who can bowl useful overs for his side. However, unlike Hardik, he ain't that quick and nippy off the track but a very good option nonetheless and one that both stand-in captain Rohit Sharma and regular captain Virat Kohli are well aware of.
Dube, 26, became the 82nd player to earn a T20 cap for India with Rahul Chahar being the last one to make his debut against West Indies earlier this year at Providence.
A left-hand bat and a right-arm medium-pace bowler by trade, Dube's stock has risen immensely over the last couple of seasons. Despite failing to make an impact in the 2019 IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore, the all-rounder came back strong in the domestic circuit and scored runs at a consistent basis.
Dube was vital in the Mumbai reaching the Vijay Hazare quarter-finals this year, scoring 177 runs in five outings with the bat including a 58-ball century against eventual champions Karnataka. During the innings, he scored the last 50 runs in a mere 17 deliveries as Karnataka bowlers looked clueless against madness that was unfolding. Dube had hit 10 sixes in the innings.
His consistent show in domestic cricket earned him a call up for India A and he made full use of the opportunities against West Indies A and South Africa A.
In domestic cricket, Dube has played 19 T20s, scoring 242 runs at a strike-rate of 142.35 and taken 14 wickets. His average gets better in First Class and List A cricket. In 35 List A games, he has smashed 614 runs at a strike rate of 121.4 and averaging 43.85. In FC cricket, 1012 runs from 16 games at an average of 48.19. With ball in hand, he has snapped 34 and 40 wickets in List A and FC cricket respectively.
Dube perhaps comes in as a ready-made replacement for Hardik, who has been struggling with injuries. With his big-hitting prowess and finishing ability, the Mumbaikar can slot in the role perfectly that the Baroda all-rounder has been doing for Team India. Add to it his handy medium-pace with an odd brisk delivery, India could finally get someone, who could do the role as closely to Hardik than a Vijay Shankar, who was more of a balanced batsman than a dasher.
For Dube, the Bangladesh T20Is will be a perfect audition for a spot that only has one competitor and with him being absent for a while with a recurring injury, the spot could be his ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.