Mumbai: Just a day before the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, Mumbai's budding all-rounder Shivam Dube whacked Baroda spinner Swapnil Singh for five sixes in as many balls in their Ranji Trophy tie and his batting prowess did not go unnoticed during the auction.
No wonder the 25-year-old southpaw was on Tuesday grabbed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a whopping Rs 5 crore.
Unlike Armaan Jaffer, Prithvi Shaw or a Sarfaraz Khan, Dube's rise to prominence did not come from school-cricket but from the ongoing Ranji season.
Even when experienced Mumbai batsmen, including the dropped Suryakumar Yadav, faultered, Dube raised his hand and bailed the team out on multiple occasions. He already has two hundreds to his name.
Dube, who looks up to West Indies legend Brian Lara in batting, first came to limelight during the T20 Mumbai Premier League where he hammered veteran spinner Pravin Tambe for five consecutive sixes.
And from then on, there was no looking back for the youngster, though he had to take a break due to personal reasons.
A senior Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) official, who knows Dube, said he was bulky earlier and has worked on his fitness a lot.
"Dube started playing age-group cricket but then took a break due to personal reasons. He has played U19, U23 cricket before making his Ranji Trophy debut. He is very focussed now, " the official said.
Another official also said that Dube came from a decent background.
Dube also played a key part in Mumbai's Vijay Hazare trophy triumph.
The tall batsman has so far played six first-class matches for Mumbai, scoring 567 runs which include two hundreds — one against Railways and one against Gujarat.
Mumbai coach Vinayak Samant also heaped praise on Dube but suggested that the youngster should focus more on his fitness.
"No doubt he is a very good player and hard hitter of the ball. But he has to work on his fitness because he is not agile. And also T20 cricket is fast," Samant said.
"He is a lot focussed and has improved a lot (in the past year)" he recalled having seen him play in U-23 four-day game.
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Having appointed Samson as their captain before the 2021 season, the Royals have chosen the batter as the first retained player for Rs 14 crore
After the eight teams finalise their retention plans, new franchises — Lucknow and Ahmedabad — will pick a maximum of three players between 1 and 25 December before the mega auction in January.
The major names to be released are out of form all-rounder Hardik Pandya and dashing keeper batter Ishan Kishan