Shivam Dube: Chief selector MSK Prasad's encouraging words, a boost for me

Updated: Oct 25, 2019, 07:22 IST | Harit N Joshi | Mumbai

Yesterday, Sunil Gavaskar was proved right as Shivam Dube, 26, clinched a place in the Indian T20 squad for the three-match series against Bangladesh, starting November 3

Shivaji Park Lions' Shivam Dube during a T20 Mumbai League game at the Wankhede Stadium last year
Shivaji Park Lions' Shivam Dube during a T20 Mumbai League game at the Wankhede Stadium last year

In a column for this newspaper written last December, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar tipped Shivam Dube for national recognition after watching the Mumbai all-rounder in the T20 Mumbai League's first season.

"Not since Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly has a left-hander hit the ball so cleanly and powerfully in Indian cricket," Gavaskar wrote.

Yesterday, Gavaskar was proved right as Dube, 26, clinched a place in the Indian T20 squad for the three-match series against Bangladesh, starting November 3. Dube appears to be an ideal replacement for the injured Hardik Pandya and will provide crucial balance to the team.

"I did well in domestic tournaments and the 'A' series, so yes, I was expecting a call-up," Dube told mid-day yesterday. He learnt about his selection when he was training in the gym. Dube is the fourth Mumbai player in the T20I team after skipper Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer and Shardul Thakur.

His five consecutive sixes in an over off veteran Mumbai leggie Pravin Tambe in the T20 Mumbai League created a flutter in Mumbai's cricketing circles. And his five sixes off Baroda's Swapnil Singh in a Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium, on the eve of the IPL auction, fetched him a Rs 5 crore deal with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

He did not have a fruitful IPL, scoring just 40 runs in four matches, but consistent performances in the Ranji Trophy (489 runs and 17 wickets) and a good India 'A' series kept him on the selectors' radar.

However, what really sealed his selection was his blockbuster 67-ball 118 against Karnataka in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy at Bangalore. "MSK [Prasad] sir spoke to me after the match against Karnataka. He told me I am doing well and should keep up the good work. That was a huge boost. I was really happy that he appreciated my knock," said Dube.

Now that he is in the Indian team, Dube wants to emulate Yuvraj with whom he is often compared to.

"I feel proud that someone is comparing me to one of the greats of the game. It does not put pressure on me. It is a huge compliment that people think I play like him. I feel I should perform like him and work hard like him in my career," signed off Dube.

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