The relatively unknown Shivam Dube’s Rs 500 Lakh move to Royal Challengers Bangalore was certainly one of the major talking points of yesterday’s IPL auction. But who actually is he, and why was he so sought after?
Who the hell?
Shivam Dube, a 25-year-old Mumbai all-rounder, is a hard-hitting middle-order batsman who also bowls skiddy seamers. The night before the IPL auction, he grabbed the headlines by launching five consecutive sixes in the Ranji Trophy (India’s premier first-class competition), following on from an identical feat in Mumbai’s T20 trophy in March. He is Mumbai’s second highest run-scorer in the tournament this season.
What’s his story?
As a young child, his father noticed Dube’s impressive cricketing skills and encouraged him to take up the sport as a pastime. Personal reasons enforced a five-year hiatus from the sport, but his return and subsequent fitness regime led to recognition from Mumbai after a match-winning performance for his corporate side in the final of the Young Comrades competition. He played domestic cricket for Mumbai’s youth teams before finally breaking into the senior side in 2016.
Despite his boundary-clearing prowess, Dube is also a batsman of some substance. His stats from this year’s Ranji Trophy campaign back this up; he has amassed 489 runs at an average of just under 70, including an accomplished century against high-flying Gujarat. With the ball, Dube has also showcased his prodigious ability, most notably by way of his seven-wicket haul against Karnataka. Dube’s multi-faceted game has also been evident in the shorter formats, where his numerous variations and clean striking helped Mumbai to claim the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Despite the promising start to his career, Dube is still relatively inexperienced; indeed, he has only played six first-class games and 13 domestic T20’s in total. It remains to be seen whether he can transfer his excellent domestic form into the high-pressure environment of the IPL, but if his current upward trajectory is anything to go by, he will be relishing the opportunity to propel himself yet further into the limelight. His fitness, too, could still do with improvement and so his athleticism in the field will likely come under scrutiny.
Prior to the auction, Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar was magnanimous in his praise for Dube, and even correctly predicted his IPL deal. “One player who will definitely be on the radar of the scouts of the franchises, as well as the national selectors, is Shivam Dube,” he said. “Not since Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly has a left-hander hit the ball so cleanly and powerfully in Indian cricket.”