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T20 WC 2024: Shivam Dube or Hardik Pandya? Which all-rounder gets the nod in India's starting XI?

T20 World Cup 2024: Shivam Dube or Hardik Pandya, Who would India go for the playing XI? Can India fit in Dube and Pandya both in Playing XI?

T20 World Cup 2024: Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, India planning to play both one? Walking Wicket (Source_ ©X_Twitter)
T20 World Cup 2024: Hardik, Dube, India planning to play both one? (Source: ©X/Twitter)

India is set to open their campaign in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Ground in New York. The ‘Men in Blue’ are in pursuit of clinching an ICC trophy that has kept eluding them for more than a decade.

To achieve that, the Rohit Sharma-led team need to find the right combination and there are a couple of headaches regarding their best playing XI. One such is the choice between Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube for the key spot in the middle-order.

Considering the strategic needs of the team and playing conditions at their disposal, here are few scenarios that could play in the team management’s head before deciding on Pandya and Dube.

Pitches are slow and aid spinners in USA

With not a great deal of international cricket played in the United States of America (USA) in the past, we do not know a lot about their pitches. It is said that we will have drop-in pitches from Australia. But the games played between sides here in the lead up to the tournament have not been high scoring.

So, we could see a fair contest between bat and ball in this World Cup. So, what would be India’s combination if the pitches offer spin? The answer is simple, India has four premier spinners in their squad and they can afford to play three of them along with two pacers.

Shivam Dube, who can play spin very well can become an asset. He can not only rip apart spin attacks in the middle-order, both in setting and chasing totals; but also play the role of the sixth bowler if needed. His medium pace with variations can really be a handful in such conditions.

Dube scored 87 runs in 56 balls against spinners in IPL 2024 at a strike rate (SR) of 155.4 while getting dismissed four times. When we consider the last three seasons of IPL, Dube’s average goes to 44.1 with a run tally of 397 at a SR of 158.8 against spinners in 34 outings. Considering he played most of his games on slow pitches of Chennai, these are great numbers.

Hardik, on the other hand, strikes at 135 in the same timeline. Hence Dube over Hardik could be the way to go. Also, India reached the final of the ICC World Cup 2023 without Hardik playing much of a role. Therefore, it shouldn’t affect them here either.

Asia Cup 2023, Group A, India vs Pakistan_Hardik Pandya stood tall between Pakistan with his solid 87-run innings; Match draw _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Hardik Pandya scored 40 off 23 in warm-up game (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Pacer-Friendly Pitches

On the contrary, if the surfaces in the USA, where India play their league games, offer aid for the pacers, then Hardik Pandya will have to play a crucial role. He can serve as India’s third pacer alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj. 

As a genuine seamer, he can bowl his quota of overs in all phases of a bowling innings. He can bowl at a tilt and make the ball talk when the conditions are helpful. The Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper stands as India’s fourth highest wicket taker in the format with 73 scalps alongside his 1348 runs with the bat.

Moreover, apart from being a fifth bowler, Hardik adds a significant value to India’s middle-order. In the end overs, he can be deadly as a finisher and can change the course of the game when on full flow. Hence, he can prove to be an invaluable asset for the team if the drop-in pitches in the World Cup were to suit the pacers.

Maintaining Team Combination

India is not known to make a slew of changes as they stress on maintaining team consistency. With pitches out of the question, India’s preferred choice for the fast-bowling all-rounder’s role will be Hardik Pandya. This is despite a mediocre IPL where he managed just 216 runs while picking 11 wickets in 14 games for Mumbai.

As a proven player for the team over the last few years, Hardik brings in a lot in the package. He has been a match-winner for the national team, providing much balance to the line-up and is the vice-captain of the squad. The 30-year-old has also shown his versatility to adapt to various situations in the past.

He is a confident player and with the burden of captaincy away from him, we could see a different Hardik Pandya at the World T20. We can’t rule out the case where both Hardik and Dube could feature in the playing XI. It will be interesting to see if India could fit both these hard-hitting destructive players in the same line-up.


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