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Has Shivam Dube Outdone Hardik In IPL 2020 & Should Mumbai Indians Consider Dropping Pandya?

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The Indian Premier League’s 2020 season has entered its third week of action in the United Arab Emirates and already we have seen some unexpected names making big moves throughout the tournament. 

In the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians on Monday, 22-year-old Ishan Kishan, for instance, entered the Playing XI as a replacement for Saurabh Tiwary and went on to score 99 runs off 58 deliveries but his efforts were inadequate as Mumbai lost in the Super Over.

View this post on InstagramA post shared by (@mumbaiindians)

The match also helped us draw parallels between two very important members of the Indian cricket team namely Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube, who were a part of a great debate before the coronavirus disrupted sports all over the world. 

Quick Flashback

Pandya, who was struggling with a nagging issue in his lower back for the latter half of 2019 was forced to undergo surgery in October and had to miss out on all Team India matches between then and the inception of the pandemic.

Surgery done successfully 🥳

Extremely grateful to everyone for your wishes ❣️ Will be back in no time! Till then miss me

— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) October 5, 2019

On the other hand, Shivam Dube became a familiar face in limited overs cricket, especially in T20Is and played against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka West Indies and New Zealand. However, the numbers didn’t incline in his favour.

Other than a solitary half century against the Windies in a loss, not many great innings came from Dube’s bat. While he managed to leak out runs, regardless of whatever team he bowled against.

Thank God Shivam Dube got exposed in that 34 run over. Otherwise Kohli would have selected him in T20 world cup also.#NZvIND #INDvNZ #NZvsIND #IndvsNz

— KingKohli12479 (@Virat12479) February 8, 2020

Indian cricket pundits were hoping that Dube was nothing more than just a replacement for Hardik Pandya, until he recovers and gets his game back.

Subsequently, Pandya started showing signs of getting back to his usual self. During his days playing for the Reliance 1 team in the 16th DY Patil T20 Cup, the all-rounder smashed a 37-ball century and looked ready for the comeback.

Hardik Pandya 105(39) while playing for Reliance against CAG in the DY Patil T20 tournament. 8 fours and 10 sixes

The man is in some form...

— Vinesh Prabhu (@vlp1994) March 3, 2020

However, the pandemic outbreak took over, India’s series against a visiting South Africa was called off and Pandya couldn’t get the opportunity to see the greens after putting in the effort to recover nicely.

IPL 2020 Breathing New Life

After a significant time away from the game, especially for Indian cricketers, the ongoing Indian Premier League has become the venue where the cream of the crop gets to showcase their talent.

While a lot of experienced cricketers such as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Pat Cummins have voiced their difficulties coping with the time gap and how the “quarantine inside the IPL bubble” didn’t help them with the form, it has also affected some other stars who have not talked about it directly.

Hardik Pandya In IPL 2020

The only wrong decision that @ImRo45 might have ever taken during hi captainship is sending Hardik Pandya instead of set Ishaan Kishan.....No doubt hardik is too good....but not in form now🤦🏻....Pollard 10 of 11 balls and then 54 of 20balls at last op️️ #RCBvMI #IPL2020

— Anubhav Singh (@Anubhav14185445) September 28, 2020

Hardik Pandya is definitely one of them. In the three matches Pandya has played for Mumbai Indians, he has scored just 47 runs and has not bowled a single ball till now. 

Despite the subpar batting performance, Rohit Sharma sent him with Kieron Pollard (instead of going himself) to bat during the Super Over against Bangalore. Not adding much towards MI’s winning cause and scoring just one run.

Shivam Dube In IPL 2020

RCB did great till 16th over..It was just the trust Virat showed for Yuzi & Zampa to give them 17th & 18th over...should have given one over to Shivam Dube...But I don't think giving Zampa over was a bad move as he almost got Pollard but 2 catches dropped...Good win.#IPL2020

— Vinay (@VinzCric) September 29, 2020

Shivam Dube, on the other hand, has become a vital member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team and has contributed significantly towards their 2-1 winning record in the season till date. 

Having scored 46 runs (one run less than Pandya) and taking four wickets in just the three matches Dube has played for the Virat Kohli squad, Dube even led the race for the Purple Cap for a few days before names like Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada and Mohammed Shami overtook him.

The 27-year-old has also managed to stay relatively economical with the ball, giving away runs at the rate of 8/over.

Shivam Dube and Vijay Shankar are just chinese copies of Hardik Pandya

— Shivansh (@ShivanshKapoorr) September 21, 2020

 Once considered to be a “Chinese copy” of Pandya, Shivam Dube has only shown significant improvement in his game on both sides of the pitch but may have even outdone Pandya in his own game. 

Should Hardik Pandya Be Dropped By Mumbai Indians?

As far as Mumbai Indians are concerned, they have looked nothing like their usual self this season. For the first three matches, they have hoped and depended on any one out of eleven batsmen to start scoring the big runs and even then have only been able to secure one victory and that too against a team struggling worse than them, Chennai Super Kings.

So the fault can’t be shifted on any one specific person’s head, everyone is to be blamed.

According to Mumbai head coach Mahela Jayawardene, Pandya has not been bowling for the team because he still isn’t “a hundred percent” and because the coaching staff didn’t want to put him in any sort of risk.

However, their bowling coach Zaheer Khan recently said that Pandya can be seen bowling “soon”.

Even though Pandya is capable of hitting shots out of the park, a majority of his contribution towards the team comes from his bowling. If Zaheer Khan really means it when he says Pandya will be bowling soon, then the question is “how soon”?

Mumbai Indians are currently fifth in the points table and the IPL isn’t a very lengthy tournament in which you have enough games to reverse a bad season. You have to stay atop from the very beginning.

MI need Pandya to get really well really soon or they can kiss that fifth IPL trophy goodbye this season.

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