Khaleel Ahmed who has played 11 ODIs and 14 T20Is so far has been a proven performer picking 8 scalps in 7 games in IPL 2020 and 19 scalps in 9 games averaging a mere 15.1 in IPL 2019.
Sunrisers Hyderabad has so far managed to get their hands on the coveted IPL trophy just once – in 2016 under David Warner’s captaincy, defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore in the summit clash.
Khaleel Ahmed Confident Of SRH Winning IPL 2021 And Picks Kane Williamson And Rashid Khan Who Can Change The Franchise’s Fortunes
The Sunrisers reached the final of the 2018 edition but lost to MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings by 8 wickets. Sunrisers are now set for their ninth appearance in IPL and India and Sunrisers Hyderabad left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed is confident that captain David Warner will propel the team to their second title this time and picked Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan as the two players who can change the Sunrisers Hyderabad fortunes in IPL 2021.
“I am sure we can win the title this time. I would pick Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan as the two players who can change the Sunrisers’ fortunes. They are so talented. Give Rashid any batsman or give Kane any bowler, they will do the job for Sunrisers,” Khaleel told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
The Sunrisers finished third after the league stage last season and made the playoffs. They defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator but then lost to Delhi Capitals by 17 runs in Qualifier 2. For SRH, David Warner was the top run-getter, third overall in the league, in the 2020 edition.
Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, with 20 wickets in 16 matches, was the highest wicket-taker for David Warner’s men last season. For Khaleel Ahmed, playing at home this season after a season in the UAE will be an added advantage for the players and team.
“I am so happy that the tournament is happening in India this time. You feel good when you play at home. We are in quarantine, but the feel-good factor of playing at home is there. I am hoping that fans will be allowed in the latter stage of the tournament. It all depends on the corona cases,” the 23-year-old left-arm medium pacer further told TimesofIndia.com.“We (SRH) will be playing on Chennai tracks (in the initial stages). We will have to assess the conditions first. We are going to play five matches initially (in Chennai) and I am hoping that we will get to play more practice games ahead of the tournament. You are quarantined for six days in a room and the seventh day you have to hit the ground for practice. The excitement is there but there is also a big chance of sustaining injuries,” Khaleel further said.
“Bhuvaneshwar is an amazing form, Natarajan is doing really well. He bowled a brilliant last over against England. Rashid Khan is there. Mujeeb is there. So, the bowling unit is quite strong for SRH in comparison with other teams. Jonny Bairstow and David Warner are destructive openers and can give you a solid start. In the middle, we have Kedar, Manish (Pandey), and Kane Williamson. They are all match winners. So, the side is looking strong and are favourites to win the title,” Khaleel said.
Tamil Nadu speedster T Natarajan’s story was initially selected as a net bowler before becoming a part of the Indian pacer armory. The ability to bowl yorkers and to keep it tight in the death overs has seen him consistently be in the reckoning for a spot in the playing XI.
Khaleel Ahmed Wished T Natarajan All The Best For His Career
T Natarajan, who has played 1 Test, 2 ODIs, and 4 T20Is for India so far, claimed 16 scalps in 16 IPL matches for Sunrisers last season also bowled the maximum number of yorkers (71), and dismissed MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers. Khaleel Ahmed is confident that his compatriot’s form will do wonders for the team.
“The Indian team has got a good bowler in the form of Natarajan. The best thing is that he was mentally prepared. Whatever opportunity came in his way, he grabbed it confidently and performed. I wish him all the best in his career. It was a dream debut for him. Natarajan is becoming a good bowler with their (Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri) support,” Khaleel told TimesofIndia.com
Khaleel Ahmed last played for India in November 2019 in a T20I match vs Bangladesh in Nagpur. He has played 11 ODIs and 14 T20Is so far, claiming 15 and 13 wickets respectively in the two formats. The 23-year-old left-arm pacer is now targeting IPL 2021 as a stepping stone to an India comeback.
“I worked a lot on my bowling action and also in-swing deliveries.You will see different variations this time. If I have a good IPL season, then I am sure you will see me back in India colours. I want to win as many matches for my team as possible,” the 23 year old from Tonk in Rajasthan further said.
“IPL will decide my place in the Indian team. I have really worked hard and you will see a different Khaleel in the tournament. I am hopeful of making the cut for the T20 World Cup,” Khaleel signed off.
SRH Predicted XI: David Warner(C), Jonny Bairstow/Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Priyam Garg.Virat Singh, Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma/ Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, and Khaleel Ahmed.