Khaleel Ahmed made his India debut in the Asia Cup 2018 and wants to continue his good performance as the 2019 World Cup nears. Khaleel was named in the 14-man India squad for the first two One-day Internationals (ODIs) against the Windies, starting October 21 at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati. Ahead of first ODI against the tourists, Khaleel credited former India pacer Zaheer Khan for helping him become a better bowler.
“I think I became a better bowler with his (Zaheer’s) advice,” the 20-year-old bowler said.
“I have spent a lot of time with Zaheer bhai during my two-year stint at the Delhi Daredevils. We played in different conditions during IPL and he always kept discussing on how to bowl on different surfaces,” he added.
Khaleel feels that a good performance against the Windies will serve him well with the 2019 World Cup looming large.
“It’s a good preparation for me for the World Cup. I want to take as many wickets as I can in the ODIs leading up to the World Cup. It will also boost my confidence and I will be under less pressure if I am picked for the World Cup,” Khaleel said.
In his second series with the senior team, Khaleel recalled how nervous he was before his debut against Hong Kong, in which he recorded impressive figures of 3 for 48.
“I was very nervous (for my debut) as my first tournament happened to be a big tournament like the Asia Cup. There was pressure. But after doing well on debut, I felt I could go further,” Khaleel recalled.
Even though it’s his second series, Khaleel said that the seniors have never made him feel like a newcomer.
“I never have felt that I’m a junior in the side. Seniors support me well. Everyone keeps talking to me and boost my confidence,” Khaleel said.
(With PTI inputs)