With limited T20I fixtures played by India after the ODI World Cup last year, the IPL serves as a crucial platform for players to fine-tune their skills and form ahead of the global T20 event.
The IPL, known for its competitive and high-pressure environment, provides Indian players with an opportunity to showcase their T20 prowess and gain valuable match practice against top-quality opposition.
As the T20 World Cup approaches, the IPL is likely to be a significant factor in shaping the Indian team’s readiness and strategy for the tournament.
“It (IPL) would be equally important for all of us, as there are only two T20Is remaining. IPL is a big platform, and if you fare well in it, you get the chance to make it to the (national) team,” Dube told reporters ahead of the second T20I against Afghanistan in Indore.
“There is a team planning and combination in place. The more we play T20s, the more we get to understand it better.”
‘I am aiming to play tomorrow’s game’
Dube expressed his focus on the present task rather than looking too far ahead in terms of making it to the Indian side for the T20 World Cup. Despite being in contention for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad, Dube emphasised the importance of concentrating on the immediate challenges and responsibilities at hand.
“Any player playing in the team aims to play in the World Cup. It’s definitely in my mind to play the World Cup, but it’s far away. Right now, I am aiming to play tomorrow’s game and take it on a match-by-match basis.
“It was a good performance in the last game, and the aim would be to better it in the next game, contributing across departments and helping the side win,” he added.
Dube’s outstanding performance in the opening clash in Mohali earned him the Man of the Match award. He made a significant contribution with the ball, claiming figures of one for nine, and followed it up with a match-winning knock of an unbeaten 60 off 40 balls.
Despite India facing challenges at 28 for two when he came to the crease while chasing a target of 159, Dube revealed that he focused on sticking to his skills and executing his plans.
“It’s difficult when things don’t go your way, and you don’t think about things you cannot do at that time. So, I thought about what I have done in the past would be better. I have practised and processed to be better both physically and mentally, besides working on my skills.”
‘Afghanistan is a tough team when it comes to T20Is’
While Afghanistan is currently ranked 10th in T20Is globally, the country’s players have gained valuable exposure and experience through participation in various domestic T20 leagues around the world. This exposure has contributed to making Afghanistan a formidable side in the shortest format of the game.
“Afghanistan is a tough team when it comes to T20Is as all of its players play in (domestic T20) leagues. It’s a good opportunity for the side to express itself in front of a top team (like India), and it has been doing well,” he said.
“Afghanistan was not a top side in international cricket a few years back. But, thanks to these leagues its players have come out on top nowadays.”
The Holkar Stadium is known for its batting-friendly conditions, and two out of three T20Is played at the venue have been won by teams batting first, with an average first-innings score of 209.
Dube acknowledged the challenges for bowlers on this pitch but expressed the belief that the team with superior bowling performance could emerge victorious.
“It’s a batting-friendly wicket. So, it would be tough for the bowlers. But, the team that bowls well on this track is likely to emerge victorious,” he signed off.
(With PTI inputs)