Left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed is very happy having received his maiden call-up to India's one-day International's squad for the upcoming edition of the Asia Cup in UAE and he has given credit to the great Rahul Dravid for his contribution in youngster's rapid rise up the ladder.
Khaleel has played his U-19 as well as the India "A" cricket under the amazing guidance of Rahul and the 20-year-old now wants to take all the learnings forward to his first introduction at the highest level.
Speaking to Hindustan Times about the biggest moment in his life, Khaleel said, “I am literally shivering right now. I cannot believe that I am part of the Indian team. This is like a dream come true for me. I have been doing well and that has been my focus. Every player wants to represent the country when he starts playing the game and I am no different. But I must thank Dravid sir for being there and turning me around from a nervous starter to a confident bowler,”
Giving credit to Rahul for having such a big influence in his career, Khaleel said, “I cannot thank him enough. When I started off at the U-19 level, I would be nervous to start with and would often make silly mistakes in the process. But under his guidance, I gained in confidence and I can confidently say that he has had a big role in my growth as a cricketer."
“The best part with Dravid sir is that he gives you that freedom to go out and express yourself. He would tell me that the best way to learn is in the middle and one should never shy away from trying new things. He has had a huge impact on how my career shaped up.” he added.
Amusingly Khaleel wants to emulate one of India's best, Zaheer Khan, whenever he gets an opportunity in the playing XI.
“I grew up idolising him and if you ask me, I wish to bowl like him and win India games.", said Khaleel talking about his inspiration and added, "Even if I can get close to his achievements for the country, that will be a big feat for me. But I don’t wish to get carried away and want to make steady progress.”