Six days ago, we at Cricket.com had singled out Vidarbha’s Shubham Dubey as an uncapped domestic player that could potentially attract a lot of bids in the auction. Dubey, in the lead-up to the auction, had attended the trials of several franchises, including Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
On Tuesday (December 19) at the auction table, Dubey’s name came up in the first set after the break, and the 29-year-old got snapped up for a whopping INR 5.80 crore by the Rajasthan Royals. The Royals got into a bidding war with Delhi Capitals before securing the services of the batter for a staggering 5.80 crore, making him, at that point, the most expensive uncapped player of the IPL 2024 auction.
So, who exactly is Shubham Dubey, and why did RR shell out a mind-boggling 5.80 crore for him?
A left-handed middle-order batter, Dubey, who made his T20 debut in 2021, enjoyed a breakthrough Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) campaign this year for Vidarbha, smashing 221 runs at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 187.3.
Batting predominantly in the middle-order (between No.4 and No.6), Dubey played frequent game-changing cameos for Vidarbha, who made the quarter-final of SMAT this season.
The left-hander smashed 18 sixes in SMAT 2023, 7 more than any other Vidarbha batter and the eighth-most in the entire competition. This season, he hit a six every 6.55 balls - which was the fourth-best in the entire competition.
It is not uncommon for uncapped batters to have one or two standout performances in a season, but what sets Dubey apart is the consistency he showed when it came to high-impact knocks.
He started the season with a 24-ball 47* against Uttarakhand and then followed it up with scores of 21* off 10 (RAJ), 58* off 20 (BEN), 23 off 12 (PUD) and 23 off 12 (MAH).
The 58* vs Bengal was among the best knocks in the entire season, for, coming in as an impact player, Dubey smashed 3 fours and 6 sixes to help Vidarbha chase 213 with 2 overs to spare.
Later in the season, on the back of his impressive SMAT campaign, Dubey was handed his List A debut and he showcased his power in the 50-over format too, scoring 159 runs at a strike rate over 90. His standout knock in the Vijay Hazare Trophy was an unbeaten 41-ball 62 in a successful chase of 256 against Maharashtra.
Left-handed middle-order batters, in general, are worth their weight in gold in a competition like the IPL. With Dubey proving in SMAT 2023 that he can be a potential point of difference, there’s little surprise that Rajasthan, a team renowned for making stars, were willing to splash the cash and secure his services.
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