An all-rounder who bowls brisk medium pace to complement his batting is rare in Indian cricket.

The few who ply this trade live in a crucible of extreme expectations. After all, they are supposed to step into shoes of one of the greatest all rounders to have played the game — Kapil Dev.

The 25-year old Shivam Dube belongs to this exalted tribe of cricketers whose presence in the squad is a luxury to any captain. The Mumbai cricketer first grabbed the headlines when he thwacked five sixes in a Ranji Trophy game against Baroda in 2018. None other than Sunil Gavaskar spoke highly of him. Dube was the hottest buy for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL auction. But cricket can be a great leveller — Dube endured a horrific IPL this year.

‘Working hard every day’

The IPL taught him many things. The foremost was the need to handle failures and to work hard on his game. “I am working hard every day. Learning is the main thing to become a good player. Though I had a poor IPL, I learned a lot practising with international players. Spending time with Rahul [Dravid] during the ‘A’ tours was also a great experience for me,” he said.

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“Being an all-rounder is a difficult job. But it is also an honour to be one and I am enjoying it. I have strength and I back myself to be successful,” he said.

Good form with the bat

Dube bounced back and was the Man of the Series in the three-match ‘Test’ series when India ‘A’ toured the West Indies last month. Coming late in the order, Dube struck a couple of game-changing half-centuries and also chipped in with a few wickets. It was his batting which stood out in the tour.

Dube has carried his good form with the bat into the series against South Africa ‘A’ as well. He played two crucial match-winning knocks against the visitors. But his bowling, as he admits, has not matched his batting exploits. “I know I haven’t taken many wickets. But I need to improve on both my batting and bowling. I am working on certain aspects of my game like hitting the ball harder. I am also working to improve my fitness and also on mental aspect of my game as well,” he said.

Dube is eager to bowl well to fulfil the high expectations of him.