khaleel ahmed
Khaleel Ahmed (IANS Photo)

India vice-captain Rohit Sharma has termed rookie pacer Khaleel Ahmed as a promising prospect and feels his gives the team an edge with his left-arm bowling.

It’s been just over a month since Khaleel made his India debut, against Hong Kong at the Asia Cup. He impressed with figures of 3/48 and followed that up with 1/45 against Afghanistan in a thrilling tie.

He returned in the ongoing West Indies bilateral series. In his first two matches of the five-ODI series, he picked up two wickets for 129 runs. However, on Monday, in Mumbai, he ran through the Windies middle-order dismissing in-form Shimron Hetmyer (13), Rovman Powell (1) and Marlon Samuels (18) to finish with 3/13 from five overs.

“Khaleel is a very promising prospect,” Rohit said at the post-match press conference on Monday after India’s 224-run win in Mumbai. “He started from Asia Cup and he showed a lot of promise which is probably why he’s in the squad. With the left-arm seamer, you always have the edge. When the left-armers swing the ball, the way Khaleel did today, it’s always going to trouble the batsmen no matter what sort of batsman he’s bowling against.”

Khaleel was part of India squad for the 2016 U-19 World Cup and regularly featured in the playing XI. He represented Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2018 after previously being associated with Delhi Daredevils.

Rohit said the 20-year-old Khaleel is maturing fast and provided he continues to bowl the way he did in the fourth ODI, he could very well make it to India squad for the ICC World Cup 2019.

“If he’s swinging the ball the way he is, I think any batsman in the world will find it difficult. He’s maturing very fast and understands his bowling. Management also understands where he needs to be come the world cup. It’s a long time but there are going to be a lot of games before that. I wouldn’t say that the spots are guaranteed for anyone. We still have lot many games to play. I hope he continues to do that because it’s only going to do better for us in coming future,” Rohit said.