Madhya Pradesh’s Dubey, an old-school batsman with compact technique and a calm head

In 28 first-class innings since his debut in 2018-19, 23-year-old Yash Dubey had never opened until midway into this Ranji Trophy season. Right before he was promoted to open by coach Chandrakant Pandit in a crucial game against Kerala, Dubey had, in fact, stroked an unbeaten 85 off 92 balls against Meghalaya down at No 7.

But Pandit saw something in his compact technique and calm temperament, and Dubey delivered instantly, scoring a massive 289 off 591 balls against Kerala and forming a third-wicket partnership of 277 with Rajat Patidar, who made 142. He couldn’t do much in the quarters and semis but has squeezed Mumbai almost out of the final with 133 off 336 deliveries, spending 111.5 overs in the middle after fielding for 127.4 overs.

Despite the Mumbai fielders chirping constantly, Dubey hardly played a false stroke in his knock, retaining his concentration throughout and making Mumbai earn his wicket. “He has always had that patience, and that’s his strength. He had scored heavily in Under-19 cricket too. The ability was evident even then, which is why we had promoted him to the senior team then,” says Devendra Bundela, the former MP captain.

That 1⃣0⃣0⃣ Feeling!

What a fine 💯 this has been by Yash Dubey in the @Paytm #RanjiTrophy #Final! 👍 #MPvMUM

Follow the match ▶️

— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) June 24, 2022

“We gave him some confidence early on that you have the ability and you will do well in the Ranji Trophy. He has the ability to bat at any position. And someone who really wants to play will play at any position.”

Dubey is a rare young batsman who actually wants to bat long, Bundela feels. “He thinks in the old school fashion. He really desires to be successful in four-day cricket. First and foremost, it is very important that you feel that way. He is the sort of batsman who you will have to get out, he will not throw away his wicket. Chandu bhai has guided him well. And I have also been talking to him before every match from his U-19 days.”

He was highly rated in state cricket circles, but Dubey had only one first-class hundred going into the season, before the promotion to open worked wonders. “See that is the beauty of Chandu bhai’s thinking,” says former MP coach Mukesh Sahni, whose son Parth made his first-class debut in the Ranji final.

“He has obviously seen something in Dubey’s temperament that convinced him he had it in him to open the innings. Dubey learns his cricket in Bhopal but moved to play for the neighboring Hoshangabad division as he was not getting enough chances for Bhopal division. He has been making runs at every level since then with that compact technique.”

Yash Dubey & Shubham Sharma’s solid tons and Rajat Patidar unbeaten 67 on Day 3 of the @Paytm #RanjiTrophy #Final brought Madhya Pradesh within touching distance of Mumbai’s first-innings total. 👏 #MPvMUM

Watch the highlights 🎥 🔽

— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) June 24, 2022

Dubey’s partner during the marathon second-wicket partnership of 222 against Mumbai was former MP captain Shubham Sharma, who is in the form of his life. The 28-year old made his debut back in 2013, but has scored four of his seven first-class centuries this season. Hailing from Indore, Shubham plays for the Indore Sports Club at the ITI Maidan in the city, where his mother is a school teacher.

“The atmosphere is very upbeat today at our club. Everyone is so proud of what Shubham has done. It is a massive achievement for him and our club,” says the club owner Raju Chouhan. “(Former MP cricketer) Rishi Yengde had brought him to me when he was only 14. So he has been playing for the club from a very young age.”

Ahead of the final, Chouhan said that he had asked Shubham to treat it as just another game and not be overawed by the occasion. “I just told him to try and not take the pressure that this is a final, and keep doing what he had been doing in match after match this season,” Chouhan said. “It is just that this match has been designated a final, but they have already beaten several big teams this season, such as Gujarat, Punjab and Bengal. If all goes well over the next two days, it will be recorded in history that Madhya Pradesh won the Ranji Trophy because of these centuries from Shubham and Yash.”

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