Shivam Dube
India’s Shivam Dube plays a shot during the Group A match against the USA in the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup 2024, at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on June 12, 2024. Dube hasn’t had a good tournament so far. Image Credit: ANI

Shivam Dube, the spin basher. I haven’t seen any of it in the T20 World Cup 2024. I watched Afghan leggie Rashid Khan bust him in the Supers 8 clash on Thursday, which left me wondering what happened to the legend of Dube the dasher, who feasted on spinners.

The lefthander is a finisher for the Chennai Super Kings. At 30, after years of promise, he found his scoring touch, hammering runs for CSK in IPL 2024. That catapulted him to the India T20 team in the US and the West Indies.

Plundering runs off spinners was his assigned role. The Mumbai batter hasn’t done that yet. In four matches, his scores of 0 not out, 3, 31 not out and 10 reflected a struggle. His best, the unbeaten 31 against the United States in the league phase, was 35 minutes of tortured stay, with Dube managing a mere five of 14 balls at one point. His lack of confidence and form was reflected in his frozen footwork.

Why the Bangladesh tie is crucial for India

None of the four knocks engenders confidence in Dube to provide a turbo-charged thrust from the middle order. Skipper Rohit Sharma may give him another chance in the game against Bangladesh on Saturday. But beyond that, Dube doesn’t deserve another opportunity. That would be a sheer injustice to Yashwasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson.

A win against Bangladesh should cement India’s spot in the semifinals. But a loss would leave them fighting for a place in the game against Australia. That tells us the significance of the Bangladesh game. Will Rohit risk another Dube flop show? He should be brave enough to look at other options.

Jaiswal or Samson: who’s the better fit?

Jaiswal has an X-factor like Rishabh Pant: both lefties are unafraid to play shots from the get-go and adventurous enough to explore unconventional avenues - a classic streak of the young and the bold. That’s what’s needed in T20 games.

India haven’t had a good opening stand in four outings, and the solid powerplay scoring was conjured by the fearless Pant. That makes for a strong case to include Jaiswal, another Mumbai product.

If Rohit opts for Jaiswal, it will allow Virat Kohli to return to his regular slot of one drop. Which means Pant moves back to No. 5. That would give India more firepower in the powerplay and allow for another thrust from the middle order with Suryakumar Yadav, Pant and Hardik Pandya providing a barnstorming finish.

read more

If India insists on opening with Kohli, an experiment that hasn’t succeeded so far, Samson can come into the middle order. He can slot in positions from No. 3 to 5 as he can temper his strokeplay before blasting away in the slog overs. His restrained aggression was evident in his IPL 2024 displays for the Rajasthan Royals and in his maiden ODI century, which rescued India against South Africa in Boland Park last year.

Everyone agrees that the Kerala captain has oodles of talent. His technique is ideal for bouncy pitches, and he has also shown the ability to adapt to slow pitches. But Samson needs confidence, the confidence to play his natural game. That would come from an extended run in the national team, a run he never got.

I hope a better sense prevails and that Indian team management trusts Samson’s talent. He deserves it. Samson can be a game-changer.