Shivam Dube played a terrific hand in the first T20International (T20I), where his unbeaten 60 off just 40 balls was good enough to win India the match in pursuit of 159. Before that, he also chipped in with a couple of quiet overs, and also picked up the crucial wicket of Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
With Hardik Pandya set for a lengthy lay-off, Dube’s form comes as a welcome relief for Team India given the his all-round abilities.
Dube says he has been working hard on his bowling and is hopeful of putting up many more such performances in the upcoming games.
“I bowled well last match, so my aim is to bowl even better. I have worked quite a lot on my bowling. Last match, I got good results; I will aim to continue that,” Dube said ahead of the second T20I against Afghanistan in Indore.
Given that the surface in Indore will aid the batters, Dube feels that the team that bowls well will win the second encounter.
“Since the surface in Indore is good for batting, it could get difficult for the bowlers to contain them. Whichever team bowls well here will win,” he said.
Dube is not thinking about the upcoming T20 World Cup in June and instead says he will focus on the Afghanistan series and then the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“Any player playing for the country definitely thinks about playing the World Cup. In my mind, it is there to play World Cup but it's far away,” Dube said.
“It's in June. For now, I am aiming for the match we play tomorrow. So, that's what my process is - to take it game by game.”
“The two matches [vs Afghanistan] now are important, the IPL will also be important because it is a big platform where if you perform, you have a good chance of getting into the team. So, that's also equally important.”
Further stressing on the importance of playing as many T20s as possible ahead of the showpiece event in US and West Indies, Dube said, “There is a lot of planning to get the team combination right. The more T20s we play, the better the understanding of the team combination when the others also get an opportunity. According to me it is important for the players as well as the team.”
Dube also lauded the Afghanistan team for their incredible rise over the years.
“Afghanistan is one of the toughest T20 teams because their players play in leagues around the world. It's an opportunity to express yourselves against them. They are doing well. A few years ago, Afghanistan were not that consistent, but the players are coming up and performing well,” the all-rounder said.
With a six-wicket victory in Mohali, India went 1-0 up and a win in Indore will see them seal the series with one game to spare. For Afghanistan, their aim will be to register their first-ever win over India at the international level.