IPL auctions have been known in the past to be a life-changing event for an emerging cricketer. In an instant, a player can go from being barely known to a household name, not to mention the spike in their bank balance. Mumbai’s Shivam Dube could well become one such player on Tuesday.
Just recently, the 25-year old came in for special praise from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar in a newspaper column. A plain reading of Dube’s numbers itself imakes clear why that is. Making his debut last season, Dube has scored 454 runs and bagged 21 wickets, including two tons and two fifers, for Mumbai. This year his form has been eye catching - 377 runs to go with 16 wickets.
Be it his 110 against Railways or 114 against Gujarat, Dube has decimated opposition attacks with his swashbuckling batting. With the ball, his figures of 7/53 against Karnataka earned him widespread praise. IPL scouts have surely noticed this all-round ability, though Dube insists he isn’t distracted by the fuss, focusing solely on the Ranji Trophy.
“It’s been a great season for me till now and I’m trying to build on whatever I have achieved till now,” Dube told CricketNext. “It’s been just four matches, and I want to achieve more and take Mumbai to another Ranji title. So, for a legend like Sunil Gavaskar to talk about you, it is out of the world.
“Now I need to keep delivering and live up to the expectations. This recognition will only make me work harder. But now is not the time to think about the IPL as I have win for my state.
“Every player has a goal to play for the Indian team, and it’s always at the back of my mind. Similar is the case with IPL, as that is where you get the recognition. But the key here is not to look too far ahead. I will take one game at a time since I want to make it count, both with the bat and ball in every match I play."
Keen observers in Mumbai, known to have an eye for spotting talent, are already impressed with what they see. Former Mumbai player and chief selector Milind Rege believes Dube will be an asset to any IPL team because of his hitting prowess, and most importantly his temperament.
“When I first saw him during the U-23s, he came across as someone with tremendous potential,” said Rege. “His batting reminded me a lot of Yuvraj Singh, the way he used to hit the ball hard. He is an ideal number six. He can bat with the top-order and with the tail.
“He’ll be a great buy in the IPL for any team. I saw him in the Mumbai Premier League last year and he won matches single-handedly. He smashed Pravin Tambe for five sixes in an over last year. That speaks volumes about the players’ potential. I expect him to win matches there too, if he gets picked."
But Rege has identified a couple of areas for Dube to work on, before he progresses to the next level.
“There is no doubt that Shivam has the talent to make it big, but then he has to improve upon his fitness and bowling a touch,” he says. “To go to a higher level, he’ll have to work a lot harder on his physical fitness and increase his bowling speed.
“He’ll have to deliver the goods with the ball, which he has been, but gaining some pace would certainly help. Also, I think Shivam needs to hire right kind of trainers for himself. He cannot afford to not get the right kind of training at this moment in his career.
“As far as his bowling is concerned, he is not the one who’ll experiment too much. He has a lot of patience that works well for him and plays well within his limitation. What is even better is that he has realised it at an early stage of his career. Just some speed should work wonders for him."
Quite clearly, the initial steps have been successfully taken. Now, Shivam Dube will be eager to continue to build on those.