Shivam Dube has made a blockbuster return to India’s T20I setup in the ongoing series against Afghanistan. Although there is still one game left, it feels that Dube has sealed the Man of the Series award for himself with impressive all-round performances in the first two games, both of which India won comfortably.
Shivam Dube’s performances have not made the team miss their star pace-bowling all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, who is currently recovering from an ankle injury suffered during the World Cup 2023. Pandya will straightaway make his comeback in the IPL 2024 and will need to prove his fitness, even more than form, as Rahul Dravid would chalk out combinations for the T20 World Cup 2024 that will immediately follow the IPL.
Over the past year, Dube has made a strong case to be included in India’s T20 World Cup squad as Pandya’s perfect backup. Some even feel that should Dube continue on his form during this year’s IPL and if Hardik doesn’t pull up well, the CSK all-rounder could even replace Pandya in the line-up, though that seems like a far-fetched thought at the moment.
3 reasons why Shivam Dube could be picked over Hardik Pandya in India’s T20I XI in T20 World Cup:
First, their T20I stats
The T20I batting stats of both of these all-rounders are interesting. In 20 T20Is, Dube averages 45, although that average is boosted by 7 not outs in 13 innings, and has a strike rate of 149, whereas Pandya averages 25 and has a strike rate of 139. It should, however, be noted that Pandya has batted more than five times than Dube in T20Is, so that average of Dube is certain to come down as he plays more innings.
In terms of bowling, Pandya, who averages 26, is far better than Dube, who averages 41.
Dube is a power-hitting monster now, while Pandya is doing the anchor role
While Hardik apparently is molding himself into an anchor role batter—which India certainly don’t need right now—Dube has reinvented himself as a power-hitting monster at CSK. His strike rate in the last two IPL seasons was 157, while Pandya’s strike rate was 133. This is a significant difference in strike rates (read Impact), more so when you consider that their averages—Pandya’s 37 to Dube’s 33—are similar.
Injury issues for Pandya keep the management and selectors on their toes
Hardik’s current ankle injury is his first major injury since returning to action after back surgery in 2022. Pandya has a history of injuries. In Dube’s case, the 30-year-old hasn’t had any major injury issues in recent years and is always ready to bowl a few overs whenever asked.
It feels very likely that India will have to fly Dube to the USA and the West Indies as Hardik’s back-up, if not in the squad.
Suresh Raina said, "this is captain Rohit Sharma's team. Rohit will definitely want in form players and Shivam Dube has impressed a lot. Rohit has given Dube the same confidence as MS Dhoni". (JioCinema). pic.twitter.com/IsO2Pkbx2i
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) January 16, 2024