India's latest allrounder Shivam Dube has a bit of swagger about him, both on and off the field. You might have noticed that swagger when he launches mighty sixes for Mumbai or India A. On Wednesday evening, he showed similar swagger in front of the mic in Hyderabad and sounded out a warning to West Indies, the reigning world champions in the shortest format.
"I think India is the best team in world cricket and we're going to win the series," he said.
That confidence stems from having played a crucial role in India winning their most-recent T20I series, against Bangladesh last month. In the series decider in Nagpur, India gambled by picking just five bowlers, including Dube, who had bowled a mere three balls on his T20I debut in Delhi, and then just two overs in the second match in Rajkot.
In Nagpur, with the series on the line, Dube teamed up with Deepak Chahar and triggered a game-changing Bangladesh collapse. Dube had leaked 23 runs in his first two overs, and when he returned to the attack for the 14th over, Bangladesh needed 65 from 42 balls with seven wickets in hand, with half-centurion Mohammad Naim and the vastly experienced Mushfiqur Rahim in the middle.
Dube struck with the first ball of his new spell, tricking Mushfiqur with a slower cutter and having him chop on for a golden duck. Then, in his next over, he nailed an off-stump yorker to get rid of Naim for 81. Chahar ran amok at the other end and bagged 6 for 7 - the best figures ever in men's T20I cricket - but it was Dube's double-strike that had cracked the game open.
So is he good enough to bowl four overs consistently, as India look to fill in the Hardik Pandya-sized hole in their side?
"Yes, I'm very confident as a bowler," Dube said two days before the T20I series opener against West Indies. "It's a T20 game and yes every bowler gets a bad game and a good game. So, I prepare myself for very good situations and I feel I can be in the bowling side also as a proper bowler who can bowl four overs and I've done that job. It really feels good."
While Dube admitted that the step-up to international cricket hasn't been easy, he believed that he could do the job as a finisher with the bat too. Dube was Mumbai's finisher in the recently-concluded 20-overs Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the 50-overs Vijay Hazare Trophy. In a Group A clash against eventual champions Karnataka in the Vijay Hazare tournament, he clattered a 67-ball 118 from No.6 and nearly powered Mumbai to victory out of nowhere in a chase of 313.
"Yes, [the switch from domestic to international cricket] has been very difficult and being an allrounder is a difficult job and [it's] more important for me to prepare my fitness level because as allrounder you need to bat and bowl also. The fitness is really a difficult job and yes I've done something and I'm proving it," Dube said. "I'll go more further."
It helps Dube that he has the backing from India's team management as well, and he is in line to make his ODI debut following the T20I series against West Indies. This, after chief selector MSK Prasad delivered a glowing appraisal of his performances for India A.
"Everyone is supporting me very highly," Dube said. "The support from the captain and support staff has been very good for me and they give me a lot of confidence. So, [I] felt really happy and relaxed in the dressing room and the ground also."
If you're still wondering whether he will fit into the dual role for India, he has asked you to stop worrying about him.
"Yes sir, I've prepared a lot. Don't worry, I'm going to show my game and win the matches for India."