Dravid gives verdict on Shivam Dube. Did Dube’s all-round abilities impress India head coach Rahul Dravid in the audition for the final World Cup squad?

One of the crucial questions India needed to answer heading into the T20 World Cup in June was whether they could find a backup for injury-prone Hardik Pandya. Fast-bowling all-rounders are a rarity in world cricket, and India had unearthed the talented Hardik, the first of its kind since the legendary Kapil Dev. However, his struggle with a back injury hurt India in the 2021 T20 World Cup, while his absence due to an ankle twist left the team imbalanced in the 2023 ODI World Cup final.

To find an able backup for Hardik, India introduced Shivam Dube in the three-match series against Afghanistan. The 30-year-old, who had made his debut in 2019 under similar circumstances, initially recalled for the home series against Australia in November last year, but he remained the only player not to feature in any of the five matches. Later dropped for the tour of South Africa before being called back in India’s final assignment before the T20 World Cup in June.

Dravid gives verdict on Shivam Dube
Dravid gives verdict on Shivam Dube

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Dube’s Impressive Audition Performance (Dravid gives verdict on Shivam Dube):

Dube earned a call-back to the Indian team after a stellar run for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2023 and the Mumbai all-rounder continued his sublime form with the bat against Afghanistan, where he took down spinners in a similar fashion en route to his back-to-back match-winning fifties. The right-arm bowler also picked up two wickets in three matches as Dube was named the Player of the Series in India’s 3-0 win against Afghanistan.

So did Dube’s all-round abilities impress India head coach Rahul Dravid in the audition for the final World Cup squad? The India legend remained tightlipped on the possibility but admitted that he was impressed to see an “improved” Dube.

“He has certainly put his hand up and said, ‘Look, here I am and these are the skills I possess, and if you are looking for something like that, I have got this ability,'” Dravid said after the series. “He really showed us that he has got some really good ability through those middle overs against spin.

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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.” Irrespective of Dube’s performance in IPL 2024, Hardik will remain the first-choice all-rounder for the World Cup, provided he manages to keep himself injury-free. But the performance will surely give India a sense of relief at having a viable backup option.

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