Khaleel Ahmed still hopeful of making it to World Cup squad due to his left-arm advantage
Even though he faced the axe due to his wayward bowling display, Khaleel Ahmed is still hopeful of making the final cut to the 15-man squad that will be announced tomorrow. The Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer is banking on the natural left-arm angle that he possesses to get the job done.
Khaleel Ahmed has represented India in eight ODIs and nine T20Is, and although he has impressed in a few matches, his economy rate forced the selectors to get rid of him for the Australia series last month. With Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are certain for the two opening bowling slots, there is contemplation for the third pacer’s spots and that may go to Siddarth Kaul or Khaleel Ahmed if the selectors stick to their words and don’t take the IPL performances into account. Khaleel believes India should go in with a left-arm option in their 2019 World Cup campaign.
“The team will need a left-arm fast bowler in the World Cup. There is no doubt that we have talented right-arm fast bowlers. We have (Jasprit) Bumrah, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) bhai and (Mohammed) Shami bhai. But a left-arm fast bowler will be an added advantage for the team as he has the ability to create different angles. A right-hand batsman will find it difficult to play a left-arm pacer, especially in the death overs. It will have a huge impact on the World Cup (campaign),” Khaleel told Timesofindia.com.
“Selection is not in my hands, but all I want to say is that I am prepared and ready if I get the chance,” Khaleel said.
The pacer from Rajasthan understands that it was his undoing in the New Zealand series which kept him out of the Australia series at home, but he stated that he had the utmost support from the team management.
“If I had performed well against New Zealand, I would have been selected for more matches. That was a good opportunity for me. New Zealand series would have given me a chance in the Australia series,” Khaleel said.
“I have played decent cricket at the international level and I am thankful that I have seniors like Virat (Kohli) bhai, Rohit (Sharma) bhai and (MS) Dhoni bhai who are always there to guide and help. I always wanted to represent my country and whenever I get a chance in the future, I will give my best for my team,” the pacer added.
After the failure Down Under, Khaleel had received a phone call from Zaheer Khan, who rang him to tell about his shortcomings and what he needs to do so as to make himself better. Khaleel said it helped him big-time.
“I know I didn’t do well against Australia and New Zealand. Zaheer bhai called and talked to me about the lengths I was bowling. He said ‘length ko thodaaagedaalakar, tubahotpehledaalta hai’ (pitch the ball a little further up than you normally do). He also said try to bowl well in crunch situations and learn how to handle pressure. The more you bowl well in crunch situations the better bowler you will become. I have always listened to him and followed his advice and will always do so. He has helped me a lot in my career,” Khaleel said.