Shivam Dube had already enjoyed a good Ranji Trophy season for Mumbai before he came up against Baroda — the game that truly raised his profile. On the final day of the Elite Group A match -- coincidentally the eve of the IPL auction -- Dube clobbered five sixes in five balls off left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh.
The following afternoon, the all-rounder was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 5 crore at the auction -- a huge sum for an uncapped player. Dube has spent nearly two months in 2019 working on his lower back issue at the National Cricket Academy here, which saw him miss bulk of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. But the 25-year-old is now fit and eager to prove his worth.
"I'm a bit nervous, but I'm also excited," Dube said, on Wednesday. "Every player has a dream of playing for India and playing in the IPL. One of those dreams is now going to come true."
Dube joins a side that was clearly lacking depth in batting, and appears to have been signed specifically as a 'finisher' in the lower middle-order.
"Playing in the middle order as a finisher is my job. It's going to be challenging. Ashish (Nehra) bhai and Gary (Kirsten) sir have said I'm going to bat at number six or seven. I'll do whatever the team requires," he said.
The price tag was not a distraction, Dube insisted. "I'm not thinking about the 5 crore. I'm just here to play cricket. I was just hoping to be selected at the auction because I had performed well in first-class cricket. So some expectation was there but I didn't think [the money] would be this much," he said.
In Mumbai's cricket circles, Dube has the reputation of being a powerful striker of the ball. "It is a natural gift, but I also work on it a lot," he said. "My six-hitting ability has been there since my younger days. I used to hit a lot of sixes. Coaches used to tell my dad, 'Your son is so strong at such a young age.' I was a power-hitter even then."
Dube aims to work on his all-round abilities. "As a medium-pacer, I know I have to improve my pace and I am working on it.
"I do not want to be labelled as a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder. I'm a proper all-rounder who can compete with the batsman and bowlers," he said.
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