OPINION: Did Khaleel Ahmed End India’s Search for a Left-Handed Fast Bowler?
Did Khaleel Ahmed end India’s search for a left-handed fast bowler?; After the retirement of Zaheer Khan, India had always found it difficult to get a left-arm fast bowler in the bowling setup. Though Ashish Nehra was available, he had always been around with an injury. Meanwhile, the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and Ankit Choudary have got some limelight, but they failed to capitalise on the chances.
During the course, there came Khaleel Ahmed as the light at the end of the tunnel. He burst on to the scene with a fine bowling display against the Hong Kong and also had the stamp of Rahul Dravid on his profile.
However, after the performance against Hong Kong, the youngster never got the chance to feature in the Asia Cup 2018 with seniors making their way. Despite missing out a place in the playing XI, the youngster got retained for the series against the Windies to keep him in the scheme of the things.
Though he had gone for the runs with the new ball, Virat Kohli backed the youngster to do well in the later part of the game in Guwahati. The youngster also responded to the skipper by bowling it cleanly at the death overs.
However, India left him out for the Vizag ODI, as they tried to go with three spinners in the playing XI. Meanwhile, it backfired India, as Windies batsmen were fluent against them.
Surprisingly, India called him back for the 3rd ODI alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar, where he was decent in a high-scoring game. It was also the game that India faced a loss in the series so far.
Made an Impact in the 4th ODI:
Khaleel’s real skills were put on for the exhibition in the 4th ODI in Mumbai. The youngster finely started the things and then, went to a bowl a firing spell. The way he cramped Marlon Samuels has been exceptional, which got the considerable attention from the legendary persons of the game.
He continued it furtherly by wreaking havoc. He finished his five-over spell with three wickets for 13 runs. The stunning show had lifted the souls in the Indian team management, who were waiting for a left-handed fast bowler in the setup.
Perhaps, the conditions in England would help the things furtherly for the youngster to generate more swing with his pace. Hopefully, India found their answer for the left-arm pacer in the side.
However, the tour to Australia will open out the real character of Khaleel Ahmed and also shed light on his berth for the upcoming 2019 World Cup as well.