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Khaleel Ahmed reveals how Rohit Sharma helped him regain his confidence in New Zealand

"He discussed where I was going wrong."

Khaleel Ahmed
Khaleel Ahmed. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The smaller grounds and wayward swing in New Zealand could be a nightmare for any pacer let along a newcomer like Khaleel Ahmed. The bowling friendly conditions of New Zealand can be a mouthwatering prospect for the pacers but even the best in the business have admitted that control is very important in those conditions. And Khaleel must have got a taste of it after being a part of India’s ODI and T20I teams for the recently-concluded tour.

The left-arm pacer played in one ODI and all the three T20Is against the Kiwis and clearly struggled on most of the occasions.  But luckily for him, he had the backing of his skipper Rohit Sharma throughout the series. Perhaps that was the reason, he played in all the three games despite performing poorly in the very first T20I. In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Khaleel revealed how Sharma helped him bowl with confidence.

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Khaleel started the T2oI series on a bad note, conceding 48 runs while picking up a solitary wicket. But after the game, he received some motivating words from his skipper and it paid off immediately. In the very following game, Khaleel picked up 2 wickets for just 27 runs to repay his captain’s faith.

“Rohit bhai spoke to me after the first match. He discussed where I was going wrong and explained to me the perspective of a batsman when he comes to the crease in a T20 game. He spoke on how I should prepare to take on the batsmen who are looking to attack from the word go. He spoke about the mindset of different batsmen and also how I should set specific fields for each opposition batsman. He really guided me a lot and most importantly asked me to bowl bindaas (carefree) and back my strength,” he said.

I was nervous

The 21-year old, who has been tipped to end India’s long wait for a left-arm pacer, also admitted that he was nervous after the poor outing in the first T20I. But the advise from Rohit helped him stop overthinking and do well on the field.

“After the first game, I was a bit nervous since it didn’t go as per plan. But after speaking to Rohit bhai, I gained in confidence and realized that it was important to not overthink and bowl to my strength. So I followed the advice and bowled bindaas (carefree). I thought that there was no point being over cautious in my approach as T20 is anyway a batsman’s game. Backed myself and that helped as I started to pitch the slower ones and the yorkers in the right areas,” he said.

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