Khaleel Ahmed has impressed one and all after making his limited-overs debut for India last year. While the left-arm pacer has taken 11 wickets in his 6 ODIs thus far, he has claimed 6 scalps in as many T20Is.
During India’s last ODI assignment against the West Indies at home, Khaleel swung the ball both ways and finished the series with seven wickets from four games. The 21-year-old is seen as India’s next fast bowling star and likely to feature in the 2019 World Cup as a third seamer.
As the Men in Blue are gearing up to take on Australia in a three-match ODI series from Saturday, Khaleel is raring to go at full throttle down under.
"T20Is (against Australia) was a great experience. It was my maiden tour of Australia. Playing T20s was a big experience for me. It’s time for ODIs now. All I want to say is – I am ready. I will try to take as many wickets as I can for my team in ODIs,” Khaleel quoted as saying by TOI.
"We have got a great captain in Virat Kohli. He is motivating. We have already won the Test series in Australia. It was our maiden one and I am sure we will win many more in the future. I am sure we will win the ODI series as well. It will be the cherry on the cake,” he added.
Before the Test series, India played three T20Is against Australia in which Khaleel scalped three wickets. He got rid of D’Arcy Short twice in the series.
"I observed each Australian batsman and watched their videos. Australian conditions are very different. They have bouncy and fast tracks. You need to bowl full deliveries on these pitches. It requires a lot of effort. I got to learn a lot,” the left-armer remarked.
Talking about Shastri’s contribution in his rise as an international cricketer, Khaleel said: "Shastri sir was a great cricketer and he shares his valuable knowledge with me. After the T20I series, Shastri sir came to me and said ‘Gear up for the ODI series. Keep yourself fit and train hard’. I am motivated and want to win this series for my team.”
He also spoke about the new-ball challenge and thanked the skipper for trusting him.
"Bowling with the new ball is a big responsibility. It means the captain is showing faith in you. I am ready to bowl with old or new ball and in any situation for my team," the youngster said.
When asked about his chances of making to the World Cup, Khaleel said: "I am not thinking about the World Cup right now. I am focusing on my current performance. The captain and team management are the best judge, let them decide my future."
"For now, I am working really hard on my fitness. I want to remain fit for every single match India is scheduled to play," he concluded.
(With TOI inputs)