Former Hyderabad cricketer Khaleel named USA skipper

From being a stumper-batsman, the 34-year-old has now been given the responsibility of leading USA in the Auty Cup that begins in Toronto from Tuesday.

Ibrahim Khaleel has come a long way since migrating to USA.   -  Special Arrangement

 

A few years back, when Ibrahim Khaleel decided to settle down in the U.S., he was not too sure about his cricketing future.

The gentleman from Hyderabad, who has played decent amount of domestic cricket in India, however, worked his way into the USA side this March.

Quite excited about the new beginning, Khaleel had then promised his friends and relatives in India that he would make all efforts to make it count for his new team. He did.

From being a stumper-batsman, the 34-year-old has now been given the responsibility of leading USA in the Auty Cup that begins in Toronto from Tuesday. This is certainly one of the biggest moments for Khaleel, who made his debut for the USA at the ICC WCL Division Three in Uganda a few months back.

This decision comes after USA decided to leave out captain Steven Taylor, following his decision to play first-class cricket in Jamaica. With his exit, the experienced Khaleel has been offered the role. The fact that he has been named the captain is yet to sink in for Khaleel. Speaking to Sportstar from Toronto, the newly appointed skipper said, "I never thought this would happen. I am glad that this opportunity came my way."If all goes well, the Hyderabad cricketer may be seen leading the side till next year's World Cricket League. "That's what I have been told. But then, you don't play cricket thinking what you will achieve," he added.

His family in Hyderabad, expectedly, is elated with the news. “It is a great moment for us. For a cricketer, it is always a big thing to lead a side and even we are excited," Khaleel's younger brother, Ismail Khaleel, told Sportstar.

Coming from a family of cricketers (his father M.A. Khaleel played for Railways in the Ranji Trophy in the early ’80s), Khaleel started his career under the watchful eyes of Arshad Ayub and went on to play 57 Ranji Trophy matches for Hyderabad.

“It all started in Hyderabad. Slowly, I made it to the state team and left my mark in the domestic tournaments. But then, I had to take the tough call of leaving the country. The scope was less there," Khaleel had said, when Sportstar broke the news of his inclusion in the USA team.

Even after being a consistent performer, a national berth eluded him, forcing him to join the cash-rich Indian Cricket League (ICL). That halted his career. But later, when the BCCI brought back the banned ICL cricketers into the mainstream, Khaleel was brought by Mumbai Indians for the Indian Premier League (IPL). He, however, had to warm benches there too.

When he decided to leave the country to be with his wife in the U.S., little did Khaleel know that someday he would go on reviving his career and lead an international side.

Some dreams do come true.