Most importantly, he tonked as many as 35 sixes-the maximum by an Indian batsmen in this edition of the IPL. In the final against Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Sunday night, the 29-year-old was once again brilliantly used by Dhoni to create maximum ‘impact’ as an ‘Impact player.’ Coming in at No 3, the tall left-hander cracked 32 not out off 21 balls with two sixes, taking CSK home in a tense chase of 171 in 15 overs in the company of Ravindra Jadeja.
It was a remarkable turnaround for someone who seemed to be lost in oblivion for a while the just-concluded season-while he scored 186 runs in 10 firstname.lastname@example.org as Mumbai recorded their maiden triumph in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Dube didn’t play a single game in the Ranji Trophy due to a hand injury as the domestic giants crashed out in the league stage. The big-hitter, who played the last of his 13 T20Is against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui – February 02, 2020, has suddenly bounced back into contention for an India berth for the white-ball leg of the West Indies tour. Dube credits Dhoni for his renaissance.
“He was very supportive. He told me to express myself in the middle. He said: ‘I’ve confidence in you and believe that you’ll do well. ‘Tu apna game khel bindaas (you play your natural game freely). You don’t have to think too much about your role. You play the way you want to play,” Dube told TOI on Monday, amidst packing his bags to jet off from here after celebrating the victory with his CSK teammates all night.
Was he low on confidence when he arrived for this year’s IPL? “Nothing like that. I was nursing a hand injury during the Ranji Trophy, so I couldn’t prepare much for the IPL. I had very few days to prepare for the tournament, but mentally, I was in a good space for this season because I did well for CSK last season. I was confident of doing well this time,” Dube said.
What was the secret of his amazing six-hitting spree this time, you wonder. “I would credit the support from the CSK team management, including Mahi (Dhoni) bhai for it. Most of all, it’s our loyal set of fans, who rooted for us not only at Chepauk, but throughout India, who spurred me to do this,” said Dube. “Of course, I trained hard for it in the nets,” he added.
His natural bat swing and clean hits have prompted many to compare Dube’s entertaining batting style to that of Yuvraj Singh’s. It’s a comparison that leaves Dube flattered. “Yes, people have told me that I remind them of Yuvraj Singh. I feel very proud when people compare my batting style with that of a great like Yuvraj,” he said.
Is he twiddling his thumbs in anticipation of a comeback? “I’m not thinking about a comeback. I’m just focusing on becoming a better cricketer and keep performing well. The rest will happen automatically,” he replied. What could hurt his chances is that, thanks to the Impact Player rule, he didn’t get to bowl at all in this IPL. “I can bowl for Team India when needed. Here in IPL, I just couldn’t bowl because of the impact player rule,” said Dube.
For the moment, Dube is soaking in the first IPL triumph of his career-he joined CSK in 2022-to the full. “It’s a different feeling. It was my dream to win the IPL with a team. It’s even more special because it has come with me playing under Mahi bhai,” he said.
CSK’s chase on Sunday night went down the wire, and at one point, they even looked out of it, before Jadeja finished off the game with a couple of boundaries. The solid belief in the CSK dressing room comes across when you hear Dube having faith in his batting partner’s abilities to seal the chase. “I was 100% sure that either I or Jaddu bhai would finish the game,” he said.
‘Dube can finish off Ranji games too’
Dube’s blazing firm has impressed Mumbai’s new selection committee too. “He’s one of the cleanest hitters of the ball in India right now. Forget about white-ball games, he can finish off Ranji Trophy matches in this form too. He can murder a bowling attack and put you on top. I was looking at his record last season, and I saw that he hadn’t played in the Ranji Trophy at all. I was told that he was unfit. He was a bit dejected when we got in touch with him. I and my colleagues will talk to him during the pre-season camp,” said Mumbai chief selector Raju Kulkarni, a former India pacer.