Khaleel Ahmed was travelling home from Kolkata — after playing the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 — when the news of him being picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad for a whopping Rs. 3 crore, broke out.

Within seconds, the Rajasthan fast bowler’s mobile phone was flooded with WhatsApp and text messages. A few friends even called him up to congratulate. After all, he was snapped up for huge money, despite a base price of Rs. 20 lakh.

When  Sporstar  spoke to the Tonk-based cricketer, he still could not come to terms with the fact that there was intense bidding to get him on board. “Getting Rs. 3 crore is a big thing for me. I don’t know how to react,” the young gun, who has been one of the consistent performers for the State team said.

While he still has not decided how to spend the money, Khaleel wants to shift his family to Jaipur and buy a house. “That will help me to focus on my training better. All the academies are in Jaipur, so I will be able to train harder if I move to Jaipur,” Khaleel said.

Coming from a lower middle-class family — his father is a compounder — it was not easy for Khaleel to pursue his dreams. Despite the family opposing his decision to play cricket, Khaleel would borrow his friend’s bicycle to reach to the nearest cricket academy and play the game.

Hard work paid off as Khaleel became a part of India’s U-19 team which reached the World Cup final in 2016. After that, he was roped in by Delhi Daredevils where he spent two seasons.

But then, he had to warm the bench.

So, this time — playing for a new side — Khaleel wants to feature in the playing XI. “I did not get a single game during my stint with Daredevils. But this time, I hope they keep me in the final XI. That’s all I want,” the 20-year-old said.

Despite being in the reserves, Khaleel did not lose hope. “I continued working hard. Never for a day did I take things easy and I am happy that things have worked out well,” Khaleel said.

As he gears up for a new beginning, Khaleel also wants to use this platform to move closer to a Team India berth. “That’s the ultimate dream. Every cricketer wants to play for the country and I will do whatever is required to fulfil the dream,” a rather confident Khaleel said.

Leaving behind last season’s gloom, the youngster would hope for a sunrise!