Indian cricket team has always been in a state where they lack pace bowlers or second string of quick bowlers. But scenes have changed. In the past few years, we have lived to see the day when the national selection committee can make the pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah rest and still have three pacers in the squad.
As the World Cup pressure is starting to take a shine, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri are willing to look for a variety e.g. left-arm pacer and that brings a man into the equation who has some experience under the belt and who came to rescue the national team during the ODI test after a sudden injury of Shardul Thakur in his Test debut, Khaleel Ahmed.
After making decent debut in the Asia Cup, the 20-year old is desperately looking to cement a place in the team for World Cup. Khaleel Ahmed believes that the lessons learned from India’s best ever left-arm pacer- Zaheer Khan will definitely make his journey to World Cup smooth.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Zaheer Bhai during my two-season stint at Delhi Daredevils. Although we played in different conditions during IPL, he always kept discussing how to bowl on different pitches. I think I matured because of his help.” Khaleel on his journey as a left-arm pacer.
“My immediate aim is to cement my place for the Australia series. The World Cup is around the corner and bowling in Australia would be a good preparation,” Khaleel elaborates. “I want to take as many wickets as I can in the ODIs leading up to the World Cup. It’ll boost my confidence and I’ll be under less pressure if I get selected for the World Cup.”
Khaleel believes that his strength is the pace and an extra bounce helps me in getting more wickets and that’s what makes him different from the other left-arm pacers that India have in the field.
The environment in Guwahati is making him confident to pull up a great match in the first ODI at Barsapara Stadium on Sunday.
Khaleel Ahmed hopes to progress further after doing well on debut and seeking guidance from Senior players have boosted his confidence.