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T20 World Cup 2024 | India's Dube-size predicament

Dube is a decent cricketer, but he looks particularly out of place in a team which has more hall of famers in a team than some do in a country.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 15:27 IST

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Barbados: Maybe it’s time the Indian management has a long, hard think about Shivam Dube. They must’ve, surely by now.

Dube is a decent cricketer, but he looks particularly out of place in a team which has more hall of famers in a team than some do in a country. 

Sure, he smacked a six and got the chase going against the United States of America, he was nice with it against Bangladesh with three sixes en route 34, but he used up 24 balls to do that. Even on Monday, against Australia, his contribution was a 22-ball 22, a quicker knock there could have made things even more comfortable for India. 

Also, Dube has bowled once in this tournament where his medium pace yielded eleven runs from an over. 

If Dube’s role is to be a pure batter, which certainly seems like at this point, should the management look at Sanju Samson as an option? He has a larger repertoire of shots, isn’t bogged down by tacky wickets, and is a significantly better fielder than Dube on his best day.

Even at the cost of not getting an ideal left-right blend, bringing in Samson might be tempting. However, making a change this late in the tournament isn't fraught without danger for Samson will have to find his footing quickly? And, should he fail, he’s going to be on the receiving end of disproportionate flak, and we all know that happens often enough when the stakes are high.  

See, Dube was included in the squad on the back of a good Indian Premier League where he took apart a fair few spinners. At this World Cup, he didn’t have that freedom because the first three pitches assisted pace more than spin. 

He got his chance on spin-friendly tracks at Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia against Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Australia respectively. He failed and looked bad doing it.  

Dube’s is a remnant from India’s archaic approach of a year or so ago. He’s severely restricted with his footwork, he can’t adapt too well to short ball, and he doesn’t seem to pick pace variations very well. In short, Dube doesn’t have the finesse for the position. 

What he has is a long lever and a burly shot behind it but he needs the ball in his arc to be effective. Bowlers have obviously studied him enough to not bowl it there, and so Dube just swings away - connects some, misses most.

Talking about Dube on Star Sports recently, former India opener Murali Vijay said: “IPL is a different ball game. International cricket is different and I can say Dube is not in form and is struggling…his feet are rooted because he doesn’t have the time to move forward. Australia and South Africa will expose him.”

You can tell Vijay, a master at using his feet, is holding it back for television. Sure, he looks a million bucks when he makes clean contact with the ball and they typically are good enough to clear grounds, but he has barely made contact this time around. 

That’s the thing, when you have a bowling line-up as effective as the one they possess, you can take the chance and extend your batting department. That was the rationale in going with Axar Patel, lengthen the batting, so why not strengthen it too?

There is little or no reason to believe that Dube’s absence will be felt. If anything, it’s time to bring on someone who aligns with the team’s new-found ‘adapt first’ approach. Dube doesn’t look like he can. 

India, however, might be stuck with him, and this decision might be the only wrong one they have made in this tournament.  

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Published 25 June 2024, 15:27 IST

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