Khaleel looks a misfit at this level: Srikkanth
- The left-arm Rajasthan pacer cut a sorry figure in the ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh
- In the two T20Is played so far, Khaleel's spells read 1/37 and 1/44
- Writing in his column for The Times of India, Srikkanth feels Khaleel will have to learn fast at this level
NEW DELHI: Since Zaheer Khan left the scene in 2015, India's search for a left-arm pacer has faced a long wait; and former India skipper Kris Srikkanth suggests it may extend with incumbent Khaleel Ahmed failing to produce the goods consistently.
"Frankly Khaleel Ahmed looks a misfit at this level. There is always scope for improvement but he has to learn fast," Srikkanth wrote in his column for The Times of India on Sunday.
The Rajasthan pacer cut a sorry figure in the ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh. In the two matches played so far, Khaleel's spells read 1/37 and 1/44.
His career economy rate in 13 T20Is stands at an expensive 9.00, while it's 5.81 in 11 ODIs.
Srikkanth felt India's bowling department in T20 cricket warrants some "tweaking" when the senior bowlers are rested.
"Barring the solitary change at the top, the T20 batting department looks fairly set for Virat Kohli. The bowling resources, however, need some tweaking, especially when the team management feels it’s important to rest the senior bowlers from this format," the former India opener wrote.
"Deepak Chahar looks a different bowler when there is atmospheric help, but in countries like Australia and South Africa, he might find it tough, as the ball does not dart around too much. If he can add a couple of more variations, he could well be the front-runner to fill that one slot," he added.
The T20 World Cup will be played in Australia next year.
"The big prize is, of course, the (T20) World Cup and I’m sure the plan is to work towards that. In my opinion, wrist spinners are going to play a pivotal role and it is high time Kuldeep Yadav is back in the mix.
"The bigger boundaries and bounce in the wicket in Australia should make (Yuzvendra) Chahal and Kuldeep a deadly combination. The case of Kuldeep is curious, a matter of regaining confidence than anything else. And this series would have been ideal to give him some game time. At the same time, Rahul Chahar will also not be a bad choice but Kuldeep’s slightly better experience should weigh in his favour," Srikkanth analysed.
Looking ahead to India's squad that may travel for the T20 World Cup Down Under, Srikkanth reiterated the fact that the team still needs a dependable support pacer.
"With Hardik Pandya the first choice all-rounder and three spinners slotted, it's time to move focus to the new ball and seam department. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (when fit) should take their rightful places. The area of concern is that of the support bowler."