T20 cricket can do more bad than good: Khaleel's childhood coach
JAIPUR: Some say he blew away the opportunity while others believe he is a misfit at this level. After Khaleel Ahmed's bowling was exposed by Bangladesh, he came under severe criticism, so much so that even his childhood coach did not shy away from voicing his disappointment. Imtiyas Ali Khan, who started coaching the left-arm seamer when he was only nine, questioned the team India coaches, "My question is, when Khaleel is with Team India, what the coaches are doing there? They cannot take out 100 percent from such a talented player and are failing to motivate him."
Talking about his advice to Khaleel, the coach from Tonk said, "I always tell him, earlier your balls used to swing in, why that is not happening now? Don't bowl to save yourself from getting smacked. I constantly tell him to stick to his aggressive style. I don't know what he is being told there. May be Khaleel is in double mind."
One bad day doesn't mean that Khaleel is a bad bowler, said Khan about the 21-year-old. "When he is playing for Team India, the question of him being a poor bowler does not arise. May be, he thought that short of length deliveries will help him trap the batsmen and that backfired as the wicket was flat in Rajkot."
Rajasthan bowler Khaleel returned figures of 1/37 in four overs in Delhi and 1/44 in four overs in Rajkot, the first two games of the three-match T20Is series against Bangladesh.
Pointing towards the changes he would like to see Khaleel make, Imtiyas said, "My advice to him would be, keep the ball up. In the second T20 match against Bangladesh, all the balls that he bowled at the right length went without runs. Also, his wrist position and moving the fingers over the ball are the tactics to save runs but you cannot resort to it all the time. And the areas where he is bowling with moving his fingers over the ball, is not right. When you are bowling like this, you should keep it on the off stump for the right-hand batsman. If you bowl on the leg stump, the batsman will easily go for paddle sweep. He is bowling at the wrong areas."
The left-arm pacer has not trained with his childhood coach since the time he got a call-up from Team India. "But I speak to him. Had a word with him even before this match as well and I told him that you won't get opportunities again and again. Focus on your bowling and if you need any help let me know. But he always tells me everything is going well there."
Talking about the importance of the role first-class cricket plays in grooming a player, the coach feels Khaleel needs to play domestic games as well. "He was impressive in juniors and in Under-23 domestic tournaments, but playing Ranji Trophy will groom him." The bowler has played only three Ranji games so far.
"Even when he was included in T20Is, my advice to him was that he should withdraw his name from there. I told him play IPL as that will be your earning and play ODIs if you get a call-up. Also, I feel he can be a very good Test cricketer. The T20 platform can do more bad than good to a young cricketer given the pitches you get, they are flat, boundaries are short, you get to face the best batsmen in the world, and this can dent a youngster's confidence. BCCI must ensure that new players should play in ODIs first and give them confidence and polish them. Only after this, the players should be included in the T20Is."