Asia Cup 2018 - India vs Pakistan: Khaleel Ahmed emulates idol Zaheer Khan on debut, Pakistan next on radar
Moments after being picked in the Indian squad for the ongoing Asia Cup in the UAE, left-arm fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed had said that the legendary Zaheer Khan was his idol and he wished to emulate the former India pace spearhead when given a chance to represent the country. And Khaleel couldn’t have expected for a better start as he finished with figures of 3/48 after his debut game against Hong Kong. What makes matters more interesting is that Zaheer had himself registered the same figures in his debut game against Kenya back in 2000.
Speaking to Hindustan Times after his selection, Khaleel had in fact said that he would be more than content with his career if he manages to pick one wicket more than Zaheer in international cricket.
“Trust me brother, if I can manage to pick one wicket more than what Zaheer bhai has managed in his career, I will be consider myself successful. He is an inspiration and someone who I have looked at from a very early age. If (Rahul) Dravid sir gave me direction, Zaheer bhai was my role model,” he had said.
While Khaleel played for India at the U-19 level, his experience in the IPL helped him learn more about performing at the highest level. “I was a bit nervous to start with, but then, I realised that it was all about being confident of your own game. Also, the experience of travelling and preparing along with international stars helped me learn more about how one prepares for big games,” he had said.
The youngster showed no nerves as he produced an impressive show in his first match against Hong Kong and has surely rung the warning bells for arch-rivals Pakistan as the two teams get ready to clash at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.