Shivam Dube joins the IPL’s six-hitting elite

Shivam Dube joins the IPL's six-hitting elite

57 sixes and 56 fours since his 2019 IPL debut. His fours tally is the highest among Indian batsmen with at least 500 runs in the competition. Only Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, and Liam Livingstone have hit more sixes than fours for this condition in the IPL.

One-third of Dube’s sixes have come this season, which is halfway through.

Dube struggles against express pace and bounce and broad lines as a batsman. But he can handle any spin. His enormous reach and long levers can play with top T20 spinners’ length and thinking. He can turn length balls into slot balls with those gifts. Ask R Ashwin, Sunil Narine, or Varun Chakravarthy. Royal Challengers Bangalore had to hide No.1 T20I spinner Wanindu Hasaranga from Dube.

Dube faced fast bowlers and death bowlers as a finisher at Nos. 6 and 7 for Royal Challengers in 2019 and 2020. Dube scored 169 runs at 16.90, 27 not out, and 122.46 in 13 innings for them. After 18 innings, Dube’s average is 30.88 and strike rate is 156.71.

MS Dhoni stated after the game against Royal Challengers at the Chinnaswamy Stadium that Super Kings had plans for Dube ahead of IPL 2023, but he arrived in Chennai last month with an injury. They put them on hold and tried to maximize Dube’s talents by using him as their spin hitter at No. 3 or 4 and giving him good entry positions against spin. Dube has faced slower bowlers in six of his seven innings this season.

Due to Ben Stokes’ injury, the Super Kings have been willing to drop Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja to accommodate Dube. Dube’s three consecutive half-centuries have helped them.

“He is someone who can hit very cleanly,” Dhoni observed of Dube following his first fifty in Bengaluru. “Yes, he has a trouble with fast bowlers, but he’s a tall, clean hitter against spinners. Thus, his reach differs from other batters. Thus, spinners must match his length.

“We had plans for him, but he arrived at our camp injured. We couldn’t do much, so we think he can get us those middle-over runs. He must believe more than us. We know he’s talented, but once you cross the rope and stand in the middle, you’re alone. So, believe in yourself.”

Dube hit a Harshal Patel yorker into the stadium roof for a 111-metre six against Royal Challengers. Auctions have erupted over his monstrous sixes. ESPNcricinfo expert and Mumbai local coach Amol Muzumdar calls Dube’s six hitting “second to none”.

Muzumdar believes Shivam Dube’s ball-striking talent is immediately noticeable. His ball-striking and six-hitting are unmatched. That’s why he’s dangerous in T20s. He gets that ball distance because he uses his long levers well. He practices powerful shots in net sessions.

I’ve seen him hit good spinners in domestic cricket and the IPL. He can adapt to IPL and domestic surfaces. He’s meticulous.”

Dube’s performance also stems from domestic season conditioning and lower-body strength. Dhoni has also relied on Dube’s catching and fielding at outfield hotspots without Stokes.

“If you look at him, he doesn’t seem that methodical, but he’s very methodical in his approach,” Muzumdar says. He’s direct and knows what he’ll do in practice. He values every practice. He was injured again in the domestic season. The Mumbai monsoons delayed cricket after IPL. After a brief trip to Ahmedabad, we began our Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy campaign.

He worked hard with the physio and trainer to improve his fitness. He focused on sprinting and stride. He wanted to strengthen his legs because he was worried about his hamstring problem.”

India tried ‘Project Dube’ before but failed. In a 2020 T20I against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui, he conceded 34 runs in one over. This new role may suit him better. He’s done bowling. He may concentrate on his best skill. Hit spinners sixes. Dube’s effect might be crucial when Super Kings play four of their last six league matches and possibly the playoffs at spin-friendly Chepauk.