Seen as the bonafide six-hitter in the Indian team, Shivam Dube, reaffirmed his credentials for T20 World Cup 2024 selection, mesmerising fand and experts with his twin half-centuries in the first two T20Is against Afghanistan. One of the biggest hitters when the spinners are in operation, Dube blazed away to scintillating fifties in the first two T20 Internationals against Afghanistan, making a fairly good spin attack look pedestrian with his power-hitting. Dube also credited MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings for his heroics in the shortest, but what exactly was the mantra he was given?
Former India cricketer Abhinav Mukund, in a chat on Jio Cinema, claimed that Dhoni advised Dube against attacking the short ball, a tip that has done wonders for the left-handed batter.
“A little birdie told me that Dube had a chat with MS Dhoni and he told him – not rocket science – don’t attack the short ball,” Mukund said.
Dube, in a chat with the broadcaster after the second T20I, gave insights into his preparation and approach to the game, that seems to be focussed only on the present at the moment.
“It’s a pleasure to keep improving my performance as I am going along. The range I have is god’s gift and I have also worked a lot on it. I have developed many areas of my game and I am getting the runs on the board,” Dube said.
On way to his an unbeaten 63 off 32 balls in the second T20I here on Sunday, Dube smashed four towering sixes and five fours, as India chased down a target of 173 with as many as 26 balls to spare.
Also grabbing the headlines with the willow was the returning Yashasvi Jaiswal, who hammered a 34-ball 68.
On how hard it is to think only about the present and not about the forthcoming T20 World Cup, Dube said, “In the past I have thought a lot about the future. But I have realised that I got to focus on the present. I have to focus on how to improve my skills, so that’s more important to me. I just try to keep myself grounded and try to focus on what I have to do.” In stark contrast to his penchant to toy with the spinners, 30-year-old Dube has often looked vulnerable against the short deliveries bowled at good pace. He admitted that the standard of fast bowlers in the IPL is much better than in domestic cricket.
On the amount of work that has gone into improving his game against short balls, Dube said, “I have worked a lot on it. When I was playing domestic cricket, I was able to dominate all the bowlers, but when it came to IPL and Indian cricket it was not easy as bowlers were bowling over 140km/hr.” “I worked a lot with side arms, but it is more about the mindset which I worked.” Dube had a poor start for India’s white-ball team against Bangladesh more than four years ago.
Asked about the methods he has employed that’s resulted in a significant improvement, he said, “This credit goes to Chennai Super Kings and Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) because I always had this game in me.” “They have brought out the best in me. They have always encouraged me and said that they believe in me. Stephen Fleming and Mike Hussey have shown faith in me.” Speaking about his mindset as a finisher, the Mumbai all-rounder said, “As a middle-order batsman, my role is to take on spinners and improve the strike rate. But when it is like getting 20-25 runs, I focus on that.” “What I have seen Mahi bhai do for a long time, I am working in that direction. I have to keep myself calm and composed and just focus on one ball at a time.