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Shivam Dube with his all-round performance making sure he is in T20 World Cup squad: Sunil Gavaskar

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Shillong, January 16: Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has acknowledged Shivam Dube’s exceptional form, stating that the all-rounder was not merely a backup for Hardik Pandya but a contender actively working to secure his spot in the T20 World Cup squad.

Shivam Dube’s meteoric rise in the T20I series against Afghanistan not only secured victories for India but also positioned him as a formidable contender for the T20 World Cup 2024. As Hardik Pandya’s fitness remained a concern, Dube’s consistent and impactful performances became the focal point of discussions among cricket enthusiasts and experts.

Gavaskar emphasized that Dube’s performances were making it challenging for selectors to consider dropping him, even if Pandya were fit.

“We have been talking about him as, ‘Oh, listen, what if Hardik is unfit?’, I think what he is doing is making sure that even if Hardik is fit, he is on that plane in that World Cup squad. If you put in performances like this, it is very hard for anyone to drop you. It is going to be a really tough decision for the selectors if they decide to drop him. He is doing all that he can, which is giving the selectors a headache,” said Gavaskar.

In Mohali, Dube’s unbeaten 60-run knock not only displayed his batting prowess but also highlighted his contribution with the ball, securing a six-wicket win for India. His impressive figures of 1-9 in two overs showcased his versatility. The momentum continued in Indore, where Dube’s explosive 63 not out off 32 deliveries propelled India to a commanding series lead of 2-0.

The cricket maestro went on to praise Dube’s newfound confidence at the international level, noting that the all-rounder had earned the respect of his teammates. Gavaskar observed that Dube now understood his game better and had moved past imitating others, focusing on showcasing his unique skills and strengths.

After these two games, I think he now feels that he belongs at the international level. He has got the appreciation and respect of his teammates because he put in two absolutely wonderful performances.”

“I think he is just a lot more comfortable about his own game. He knows his own game better. He is not trying to copy anyone now. He is saying, This is what I can do and what I bring to the table,” said Gavaskar.

As the cricketing world eagerly awaited the T20 World Cup squad announcement, Dube’s story had evolved from being a potential replacement to a player who had carved his own niche, leaving selectors with a delightful dilemma. (IANS)

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