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Shivam Dube: A Complete Misfit in the Current Scheme of Things For Team India
- Updated: December 17, 2019
Shivam Dube, the Mumbai all-rounder made news with his blockbuster hitting in Ranji Trophy last year. He hit five sixes off five balls to earn himself a contract with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2019. He was roped in by the franchise for 5 crores after which people started comparing him to former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh. However, he turned out to be a flop for the Challengers as he scored just 40 runs from four matches.
Next, he almost helped Shivaji Park Lions win the first season of T20 Mumbai. His exploits earned him his maiden entry into the Indian T20I team in the series against Bangladesh after Hardik Pandya was ruled out of the series with a back injury. He kept his place for the T20Is series against West Indies which followed thereafter and scored his maiden fifty in the second game in Thiruvananthapuram. His exploits in the game helped him keep his place for the ODI series against the Windies too.
He made his debut in Chennai but hardly contributed with the bat and the ball in the first game. With the bat, he scored just 9 runs off six balls and with the ball he gave away 68 runs in 7.5 overs and was the most expensive of the lot. His List A and First class careers are also not something to be proud of. He has scored just over 1000 runs in First Class while just over 600 in List A. With the ball too, his numbers are not too good.
With the 2019 World Cup done and dusted, the World T20 in Australia is the next big ICC event that Team India is looking to win. The team has already started their preparations for the tournament with the T20I series against Bangladesh. The team management is trying various combinations at the moment and will decide on picking the right team just in the knick of time.
This is what makes Dube one of the options at the moment. However, this is a short-lived experiment as Hardik will take his place once he returns after recovering from his back injury. He thus is a perfect misfit in the scheme of things for Team India at the moment. His performances so far has not been something striking or have made a difference. He still has two more matches in the ongoing series against West Indies to prove a point to the selectors.
The first ODI between India and West Indies was a perfect example of how Dube was misused in the line-up. His big-hitting prowess prompted Kohli to keep him in the playing XI alongside Kedar Jadhav and Ravindra Jadeja as India played with three all-rounders on a pitch renowned for turn and bounce. India thus compromised on a wrist-spinner which cost them the game. Shimron Hetmyer who scored his second century and his highest ODI score (139) punished all the bowlers severely.
The commentators and the cricket experts also questioned the sense and sensibility of playing Jadhav and Dube together by compromising a wrist spinner who would have been more effective on those conditions. It was pretty evident that the team management fielded a wrong XI on the pitch on Sunday which also brought to the fore the role of a particular player in the side. Dube is an exciting talent and has a lot of potential but he still is an unfinished product. He was more of a makeshift replacement for Hardik Pandya and will have to wait for his chance once Hardik replaces him in the squad.
Talking of someone who really deserves a chance in the playing XI is Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson. He made his T20I debut for India in 2015 where he was included in the team as a backup keeper for MS Dhoni. Since then, he has been scoring heavily in domestic cricket and in the IPL but still has not found a place in the Indian ODI team. Samson, who scored a record-breaking 212 not out against Goa recently in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He finished the tournament with 410 runs at an average of 58.57 and a strike-rate of 125. Samson was included for the T20I series against Bangladesh but did not give a game as Virat Kohli and the team management favored Rishabh Pant over him. This was Samson’s third call-up to the national side. He was a part of India’s 2014 limited-overs tour of England but ended up warming the bench all tour. They also gave chance to Tamil Nadu cricketer Washington Sundar who hardly had a role to play in the series.
Thus there is an indication that Virat is forming a group of players whom he wants to keep in the team while sidelining others. This trait was also followed by MS Dhoni when he gave players like Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pawan Negi, Ishwar Pandey, Manpreet Gony, Joginder Sharma and many others to play for India. But apart from Ashwin and Jadeja who were really talented, no one else did make the opportunity count.
The non-inclusion of Samson in the playing XI can also be blamed onto the current Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad. He has been very vocal about backing Pant despite his repeated failures and has went onto promptly say that Pant is the future of Indian cricket. His tenure gets over on September 2020 and BCCI Chief Sourav Ganguly has also said that he will have to leave his chair once his tenure gets over. His re-election will depend on the BCCI management and the willingness of the Indian players. Ganguly said that he will have a formal discussion with Virat Kohli regarding the same at the right time.
Therefore Dube’s selection has highlighted a couple of more important issues related to the future of Indian cricket. Along with the unassured future of MS Dhoni, the whole debate about who among Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson should be given opportunities are the other underlined issues that the Indian team is struggling to find answers to. On the outside, the Indian cricket team is currently doing great winning almost everything while losing occasionally. On the inside however, one particular loss is forcing the team management to look for options and rethink their strategy.
Virat Kohli and the team management have only time till September 2020 with the World T20 beginning in October to find the best combination for the tournament. Also, they will need to come to a conclusion on Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube.