An all-rounder who can do the job with both bat and ball is a massive asset to have for any limited-overs outfit and Ben Stokes’ 2019 World Cup heroics for England are testament to the value of multi-faceted cricketers.
India had a man of similar calibre in their ranks for the 2011 World Cup title win, with Yuvraj Singh putting in a superb all-round display on his way to clinching the man-of-the-tournament award.
The left-hander registered a ton and four fifties while also claiming 15 wickets with his orthodox spin to star in the tournament held in India’s home soil. The Men in Blue have sorely missed the team balance provided by Yuvraj in subsequent World Cup editions of 2015 and 2019, particularly in the former.
Hardik Pandya has been handed the all-rounder’s mantle by India in the past couple of years but the 26-year-old is currently attempting to return from a severe back injury. His injury setback has forced India to try out Shivam Dube in the all-rounder’s role, though the Mumbai man has been making headlines for the wrong reasons of late.
After some promising initial displays, Dube was on the receiving end of serious punishment in the recently concluded T20I series between New Zealand and India. The right-armed medium pacer was carted for 34 runs in a single over by Tim Seifert and Ross Taylor in the fifth and final T20I in Mount Maunganui.
It is the second most expensive over in the format’s history, and lies just behind the 36 runs slammed by Yuvraj in a single Stuart Broad over in the 2007 World T20. Yuvraj, however, believes India need to be patient with Dube and is maintaining a cautious outlook on Pandya’s impending return.
“Shivam Dube I think is a good talent, but you have to give him time,” the former India man told Sport360 on the sidelines of the Expo 2020 Dubai cricket final.
“Hardik is coming back from a back injury, and bowling fast after a back injury is going to be tough. So I don’t know how Hardik will turn out.
“Looking at Dube, you have to give the guy a bit of time and we will see in the future who comes out with the consistent performances.”
While the all-round slot is one of India’s pressing concerns at the moment in the run-up to the 2020 T20I World Cup in Australia, they also need to contend with an alarming drop in their fielding standards.
Numerous misfields and dropped catches have characterised their recent bilateral engagements with South Africa, West Indies and the ongoing battle against the Blackcaps in New Zealand. Yuvraj, who was once one of the most formidable fielders in the point region, is backing India to regain their fielding supremacy under skipper Virat Kohli.
“They do have some exceptional fielders in the squad,” the left-hander said.
“I think for any team led by Virat Kohli, the fielding has to be really good. I am sure the will improve once they play more amount of matches.
“If they put in the same effort into fielding as they put into their batting or bowling, then I am sure the results will come.”
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