Following his maiden India call-up, an elated Shivam Dube said he was certain his name would appear in the 15-member squad which will take on Bangladesh in a three T20I series starting November 3. Dube, one of the most hard-hitting allrounders in the country, was drafted in place of an injured Hardik Pandya, who underwent lower back surgery and is expected to be out for six-eight months.
Dube scored 177 runs in eight games at an average of 88.50, including a hundred in the Vijay Hazare Trophy recently. Before that, the 26-year-old was named as the ‘Man of the Series’ after scoring 180 runs at 60, besides taking five wickets at 33.60 for India A in the three unofficial Tests against West Indies A, playing an instrumental role in the visitors winning the series 2-0.
“It is a good feeling,” Dube told PTI. “I was expecting a call. I was sure shot of my selection. I felt that my performance was good, so I would be in (the team). I was positive about it. I will continue to work hard. I haven’t thought about (my goals yet). At the moment, I am happy. As an all-rounder I need to be there with 100 per cent focus and good fitness.”
Specialising in power-hitting, Dube stated his strength allows him to hit the ball a long way. In List A and T20 matches, Dube has a strike-rate of 137 and 126 respectively, while in FC matches it comes down to 67. With over 1300 runs across all three formats, Dube could well be the finisher India have long hoped for.
“I think I have good power and I use that for hitting big,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “I practice a lot for big-hitting too. I have a separate session for it. I always go for two-three sessions and the last session is power hitting. I work a lot on it because that’s my strength and I always back my strength. I have the power, so I use it.”
The same-power hitting fetched Dube a price of Rs 5 crore from Royal Challengers Bangalore during last year’s IPL auction. But the youngster was underutilised by the franchise as RCB finished at the bottom of the pile. Dube played just four matches, in which he scored only 40 runs, but the youngster has left behind the disappointment and is looking forward to a fresh start.
“I don’t think anything went wrong as such,” Dube said about his IPL stint. “But every player, even good players, have times where they are not doing as well, and that was the time for me. I thought I learned a lot from that phase, and I’m showing my skills and aptitude now.
“I think I’m a capable player, which is why I’ve gone for that money. Virat [Kohli] bhaiyya helped me a lot. He told me, ‘Don’t worry, it’s up and down always. Even I had a bad IPL once, but I worked hard and came back stronger, and I know you will come back stronger.'”
Dube will be part of Virat Kohli’s India, which sets the standard in terms of fitness. It is an area Dube has struggled in the past but is satisfied with the progress he is making currently.
“As an allrounder, you need to have the best fitness. I had struggled with that but I’ve gone to a good level now and I think I’m doing really well,” he said. “I had to do everything – build strength, lose weight, get endurance… I feel stronger and lighter now.
“I talked with Virat bhaiyya about fitness and he told me there’s no issue with my fitness. He also said he looked at me as a batsman who could finish the game and told me that I should finish the game every time, that I should have that capacity in my game.”