Young pacer Khaleel Ahmed, who convinced his skipper to hand him the new ball in the second Twenty20 against the West Indies, says he thrives on responsibility and never lets pressure affect his performance.
Young pacer Khaleel Ahmed, who convinced his skipper to hand him the new ball in the second Twenty20 against the West Indies, says he thrives on responsibility and never lets pressure affect his performance. Khaleel pegged the West Indies back with two early wickets and according to India’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma it was the 20-year-old who insisted on bowling with the new ball along with seasoned Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The bowler from Tonk, Rajasthan dismissed both the openers — Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer — to unsettle the West Indies chase. “I had more responsibility today as I was bowling with the new ball. I enjoy the responsibility a lot.
When I was young, I always dreamt of playing for India and now I have achieved that. If I feel pressure now I can’t perform to my potential,” Khaleel said at the post-match press conference after India’s 71-run win. “My only aim is to do well for India and for that I need to enjoy my game. I am confident of my abilities. If you enjoy your game, hunger to do well, will also increase.”
Khaleel had grabbed the headlines during the Asia Cup, but his time of reckoning came in the ODI series against the West Indies where he finished as the third-highest wicket-taker with seven wickets in four matches. The 20-year, who played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last edition of the Indian Premier League, was behind spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in the list.
Khaleel credits his instant success to the experience he had gathered while sharing the dressing room with big international stars during the IPL. “Playing in the IPL gives one a lot of experience when you come into the Indian team.
You don’t have to make too many changes to your game because you already have shared the dressing room with international players,” he said. “When you come into the Indian team, by then you had already learned professionalism and know how to correct your mistakes. The IPL is of big help.”