Choosing between Shivam Dube and Hardik Pandya: Ravichandran Ashwin’s perspective ignites discussion in India’s T20 World Cup squad

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With Hardik Pandya sidelined due to injury, Shivam Dube has emerged as a top replacement for him.

Ravichandran Ashwin has openly backed Shivam Dube’s inclusion in the Indian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Ashwin’s support comes after Dube’s standout performances in the T20I series against Afghanistan, where his consecutive half-centuries were crucial in India’s 3-0 series win. Not only did Dube display his batting skills, but his bowling also left a lasting impression despite yielding only two wickets.

Ashwin’s backing is based on Dube’s all-around abilities showcased in the series. Comparing him to Yuvraj Singh, Ashwin described Dube as a ‘Yuvraj Singh lite’ package, emphasizing his potential impact similar to Yuvraj’s influence during his playing days.

‘Hardik Pandya is an integral part of the Indian team. However, with Shivam Dube’s emergence, especially in conditions similar to CSK in the West Indies, he becomes a spin-hitting monster,’ Ashwin stated on his YouTube channel. ‘I can proudly call him a ‘Yuvraj Singh lite’ package. There are so many facets of Yuvraj Singh that I see in his game – the downswing, the height, and the reach. I’m not saying he’s exactly like Yuvraj Singh, but he reminds me a lot of him. The beauty here is that he hits spin straight down the ground,’ he added.

Beyond batting, Dube’s progress as a bowler has not gone unnoticed. Ashwin highlighted the all-rounder’s evolution in adding variations to his bowling, a skill crucial in the fast-paced and unpredictable T20 format.

‘When Suryakumar Yadav is playing at one end, a team might try to suppress him by playing a left-arm spinner. When Shivam Dube is at the other end, this is a great combination to have. The options he provides to the team are tremendous. He can bowl two overs of his quota too. He has proved that he can bowl cutters and has developed a back-of-the-hand slower delivery as well. It has just added worth in gold going into this World Cup,’ concluded Ashwin.

Ashwin’s endorsement holds significance, particularly with the T20 World Cup set in the West Indies, where conditions resemble Chepauk, potentially favoring Dube’s strengths. This support from the seasoned off-spinner bolsters Dube’s case for a spot in the World Cup squad, reflecting confidence in his ability to make a significant contribution to the team’s success in the tournament.