Khaleel Ahmed is set to shake the cricketing world. The Rajasthan pacer follows Zaheer Khan and he acknowledged Zaheer helped him grow and refine his skill.
“I was with Zaheer Khan (at Delhi Daredevils). He taught me how to bowl on different pitches, what line and length to bowl to different batsmen. He corrected a lot of technical issues also,” said Ahmed.
Khaleel had clocked 148 kmph in the recent Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. He said tennis ball was also vital in increasing his pace. “Tennis ball cricket helped me grow as a fast bowler. We would play mostly on cement pitches and had to bowl fast. The tennis ball is light and helps you improve your arm rotation,” he said.
Zaheer spoke about the 20-year-old pacer and said he can be a match-winner. “He’s a bowler to watch out for. I did work with him closely. He’s a very promising talent but needs to keep working hard. He has the ingredients to develop into a match-winner. It’s now up to him how much he can push himself.
"There’s no doubt he has the potential but will need to keep learning as he climbs the ladder. Fast bowling is very hard work and I’ve told him so,” said Zaheer.
Ahmed has also played under coach Rahul Dravid during the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. He considers himself lucky. “He (Dravid) taught us a lot about life off the field and discipline.”
Ahmed also understood the difference between junior cricket and the next grade. “The difference is big but I am keen to learn and adapt,” he said.
Being a left arm bowler is a benefit for the young pacer. He admits it and said, “The left-armer gets a huge advantage from a different angle.”