JAIPUR: With Shivam Dube in the mix, Rajasthan Royals will look to strengthen their middle-order along with boosting their fast bowling unit, but for the all-rounder it will be an opportunity to redeem himself on the international stage. With scores of new faces having made an impact recently, Dube is looking to get better to ensure an India call-up comes his way once again.
“Performing in every match and coming back into the Indian side would be great, but I am not thinking about it right now. The focus is on performing well in the IPL. Becoming better is more important than thinking about being in the international side,” Dube told TOI over online call from Mumbai.
The 27-year-old who made his debut in a T20I in November 2019 against Bangladesh, was initially being touted as a like-to-like replacement for Hardik Pandya but since last year the reference has lost its context. Dube says that since the Baroda all-rounder is back, currently there is no vacancy. “Yes, as an all-rounder people have looked at me as a replacement of Hardik. As he is back in the side, there is no place in the Indian team right now. But I will reiterate that my focus is on getting better. My competition is with Shivam only. I am not thinking about Hardik or my future,” Dube said.
Dube who was bought at ?4.40 crore by the Jaipur-based franchise, is certain of opportunities and he has been spoken to about it by the management. “The Royals are very positive about me. Here I am going to get more chances. The management is trusting my skill in this format and I have spoken to Kumar Sangakkara (Director of Cricket) and he has told me that we want you to make our middle-order strong,” he shared. Known more for his batting, he is happy to play more as a batsman than a bowler. “As a batsman I am on a better side and this team needs me more in this role. So I consider myself fortunate to fill in for that role as well,” the all-rounder said.
Having already played two seasons of IPL where he represented Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Dube now considers himself smarter to deal with the high-pressure situations. “Maiden IPL season was a bit difficult for me. I felt a lot of pressure. I spoke to AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli and they told me to go out and just enjoy the match and focus on it. But ultimately it has to come out from within and I explained to myself that it’s just the difference in the level from domestic cricket to IPL as the game remains the same. After playing at the international level it became easier for me as I grew more smarter,” said the new Royal recruit who has so far played 15 IPL games where he scored at a strike rate of 122.46 and bowled at an economy of 7.59.
Currently in mandatory seven-day quarantine, the all-rounder is looking forward to interacting with Ben Stokes and his ‘friend’ Chris Morris, “Getting some tips from Stokes would be great. I have shared the dressing room with Morris in 2020 during my stint with RCB, so he is a good friend already. Being around them will give me growing time,” he added.