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‘Shivam Dube never felt comfortable in RCB, he couldn’t break free’: AB de Villiers credits CSK’s MS Dhoni and Fleming

AB De Villiers, who shared the dressing room with Shivam Dube in RCB, said the all-rounder could never break free there.

Legendary South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers said Shivam Dube never quite felt at ease when was with the Royal Challengers Bengaluru. It was after he shifted to the Chennai Super Kings that the lanky all-rounder realised his true potential, feels de Villiers. The former South African skipper is not wrong here. The numbers back him. Dube started his IPL career in 2019 with RCB. He played two seasons for the Virat Kohli-led side and in 15 matches he just managed 169 runs at a strike rate of 122.

Chennai Super Kings’ Shivam Dube celebrates his half-century during the match against Gujarat Titans in IPL 2024(CSK-X)

He was released by RCB and before IPL 2021, Dube found a new home in the Rajasthan Royals. But success still didn’t pay a visit to the power-hitting left-hander. He had a better season alright, scoring 230 runs in 9 matches but the strike rate of 119 was a problem. His bowling was never threatening enough for captains to trust him with 4 overs. The result was obvious. Dube was released again.

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The left-hander’s problems against the short-pitched deliveries were out in the open now. He also lost his place in the Indian side. When things were looking downhill for the talented Mumbai cricketer, MS Dhoni’s CSK picked him up in the mega auction in 2022. And things took a 180 degree for Dube. He scored 289 runs at a strike rate of 156.

De Villiers, who shared the dressing room with Dube in RCB, said the all-rounder could never break free there and it is under MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming that he has finally found home.

“It’s fantastic to see Shivam like this. He never really broke free in the RCB changing room. He was quite a shy guy, worked really hard, and asked a lot of questions back in the day. I think he did a bit of learning there but never felt comfortable. He talks about being free in CSK, and that is the magic recipe that MSD, Gaikwad, Stephen Fleming, and all the guys from the past have set up over there. It’s a workhorse of a franchise that just makes it work every time, every single season, with new players who feel free to express themselves,” de Villiers said on Jio Cinema.

Dube had his best season last year where he hit as many as 35 sixes. He was severe against spinners but the problem against the short balls remained. He put immense work in the off season and came back an even better player. He also earned his place back in the Indian T20I side.

The amount of work Dube has put in to improve his batting against the short balls was on full display in CSK’s match against the Gujarat Titans on Tuesday. He smashed 52 off 23 balls with five towering sixes. The way he took on GT’s Australian pacer Spencer Johnson whenever he pitched it short was heartening to see.

How did Shivam Dube become a better player against short ball? Mike Hussey reveals

“Got to give a lot of credit to Dube for working tirelessly against the short ball, an area he needed to improve on. Hats off to him, and he is playing with confidence now. He is also dangerous against the spin.

“As the teams bowled short balls at him a few years ago, he would only duck and defend. Now, not only he can play the short ones, but he is also able to find boundaries.

“So, that’s a testament to the work that he has put in and has given it back to the bowlers, forcing them to try something new. It will benefit him in the IPL, and also if he gets a chance to play for his country, it will do him a lot of good,” said Hussey.

Dube’s improvement has a lot to do with Dhoni personally working with the beefy Mumbai man, his skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad revealed after the match.

Early in his career, short ball had become his shortcoming but this season Dube has managed it well.

“Just confidence. When he came here, the management worked with him personally, Mahi bhai worked with him personally. He knows what role he is playing and which bowler to take on. A big plus for us,” Gaikwad praised his big-hitting game-changer.

Dube also spoke about the freedom that CSK leadership has given him and he has worked hard to remain prepared for the short balls, now that a couple of bouncers are allowed per over.

“This franchise (CSK) is something different from all others. They are giving me the freedom. They want me to do better and I also want to win some matches,” Dube said after winning ‘Player of the Match’ award.


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