Khaleel Ahmed's response when reporters asked if Team India is missing Virat Kohli in T20I series
Young pacer Khaleel Ahmed appeared nervous when he came for the post-match conference in Auckland after India beat New Zealand by 7 wickets on Friday to square the three-match series. It’s still not six months since the 21-year-old left-arm seamer has made his international debut which made his nervous energy at the presser understandable. But Khaleel did a fair job and one question on regular skipper Virat Kohli caught him by surprise.
Khaleel made a key contribution to India’s win by picking two wickets for 27 runs in four overs after going without any reward in the first game in which he went for some runs. India, who suffered an 80-run loss in the first game in Wellington – their heaviest in the shortest format – made quick amends in the second game to restrict the Black Caps to 158 to overhaul the target losing just three wickets. Captain Rohit Sharma slammed a 29-ball 50 to lead the team to their maiden T20I win on New Zealand soil.
Khaleel laughs out and then asks for the next question
Khaleel Ahmed was asked a plethora of questions but among them came a tricky one which left the youngster blinded like a rabbit caught in powerful headlights. One reporter asked the bowler whether the team was missing Virat Kohli who has gone a break after playing the first three ODIs against the Kiwis. Khaleel did not answer and rather burst into laughter and hid his face before recovering and saying, “Don’t ask… Next question please.”
A smart question that had to be negotiated carefully, for sure. Khaleel also spoke about the challenges that the fast bowlers faced in New Zealand even though India have won five of the seven matches they have played so far. “One difficulty that we face in New Zealand while bowling is running into the wind which is a rarity elsewhere. But then these are little things that you learn and it’s a great experience.”
The third and deciding T20I will be played in Hamilton on Sunday. The venue is bowling-friendly where the Men in Blue were bowled out for a paltry 92 in the fourth ODI last month.