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On November 20, 2011, Ibrahim Khaleel – the Hyderabad wicket-keeper – wrote his name in history by recording the most dismissals by a stumper in a First-Class game. During the Ranji Trophy encounter between Hyderabad and Assam at Guwahati, Khaleel accounted for a total of 14 victims — 11 caught and stumped. Khaleel has been on the domestic circuit for quite some time and boasts of a very good record as a wicket-keeper. It was in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) that he impressed one and all with his disciplined wicket-keeping and good batting.
In an exclusive interview with CricketCountry, Khaleel looks back at the game during which he broke the world record.
Excerpts from an interview:
CricketCountry (CC): Can you take us through that game against Assam in which you created the world record? What was the pitch like and how did things start off for you?
Ibrahim Khaleel (IK): It was a very good batting track and we posted a big score (474 for six declared). Assam had batted first and were all out for 227. During that innings I effected seven dismissals. At that stage, I didn’t think too much about the dismissals and was looking forward to our batting. I did get an opportunity to bat and scored 37 not out. After getting the runs on the board and securing a lead, we wanted to make inroads into their batting in the second innings. At the end of the penultimate day, we had them one down for no score. The next day they were batting well, until we got back in the game with quick wickets. In the second innings I recorded another seven dismissals. It was amazing and great fun to win that game. It was important for us to secure an outright win and we did it.
CC: Most of your victims were off the left-arm spinner Lalith Mohan. Was the track very conducive to spin that he could effect so many dismissals?
IK: Yes, most of my dismissals were of Lalith Mohan’s bowling. However, I assisted Syed Quadri and Anwar Ahmed as well. Lalith bowled well in that game. The stumpings were half chances which I converted. Yes, there were a few good balls bowled, but there was good catching as well. The batsmen were beaten a few times and I was able to convert them into stumpings.
CC: As the game progressed, were you surprised by the number of chances coming your way?
IK: Not really. That game was crucial for us to record an outright win and that was on our minds. As far as the chances are concerned, they were just coming. We had put in a lot of hard work in the lead-up to the game. You can say that it had to happen with all the work put in.
CC: You spoke about the importance of winning that game. Hyderabad progressed well through that season. Looking back, what is the significance of that win against Assam?
IK: It was a very important game as we picked up momentum with that victory. We carried that into the next game – one during which we recorded another outright win. That put us in a very good position whereby we qualified for the semi-finals of the Plate league. The win against Assam gave us confidence and belief as a team that we could win games and progress especially after not doing well in the first two games. There was pressure and when we had performances like the hundred by Quadri against Assam, it helped our confidence.
CC: Looking back, which dismissals were the most memorable for you?
IK: I think the 14th dismissal. It was a very thick edge and I was in a good position to take it comfortably. Then there were two I took down the leg-side.
CC: When did you get to know that you had a world record to your name? What was your team’s reaction for the same?
IK: I actually got to know after the game and I had no clue till then. I was overwhelmed by Hyderabad’s victory and we were celebrating it with the belief that we were on the right track. Our video analyst called up somebody and found out about the record and that is when I came to know. It was an amazing feeling that it came during a Hyderabad victory. Everybody in the team were thrilled and came up to me to congratulate me.
CC: Even though VVS Laxman was with the Indian team then, he was frequently in touch with the Hyderabad team. Did you talk to him after your record?
IK: Laxmanbhai called me and congratulated me on my record. It was a great feeling to talk to him. Pragyan Ojha also called me and wished me.
CC: Laxman is playing this season with Hyderabad. What effect has his presence had on the team?
IK: Laxmanbhai is a fantastic person and a fantastic player. On any wicket or against any bowling attack, he makes batting look so easy. That is a huge motivating factor as the youngsters look at him and learn a lot. It is a big learning curve for all of us as we get to pick a number of finer points by watching him bat.
CC: Lastly, you impressed one and all during the ICL. How important was that experience for your career and what can we expect from you in the future?
IK: I approach it match by match. My main aim is to do well for Hyderabad or whichever team I am playing for. It is imperative that I focus on my game rather than think about the future. My spell at the ICL certainly made me a better cricketer. It helped me improve my keeping as well as my batting. My coach there was Steve Rixon and he helped me a lot and gave me a lot of tips. He showed me a number of drills and that improved my keeping. I was signed by the Mumbai Indians for the 2010 season, but didn’t get an opportunity to play.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)
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