How coronavirus cut-short Ali Khan’s PSL homecoming

USA pacer Ali is a T20 globetrotter and the uncertainty of the leagues is causing him sleepless nights; he was part of Karachi Kings’ last game on March 15.

Ali Khan was born and raised in Pakistan. His family moved to Ohio when he was 18. The USA fast bowler is a T20 globetrotter and the Pakistan Super League 2020 was a homecoming of sorts. Representing Karachi Kings, he had a chance to showcase skills in front of his own people but the stint was cut-short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ali could just play one game, where he dismissed former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Being a professional cricketer, the uncertainty of the leagues due to the COVID-19 situation is causing him sleepless nights. In 2019, he had not accepted the central contract from USA to be available for franchise cricket.

He, however, could represent USA on a match fee basis.

“That’s the most tough situation, it is our bread and butter. We don’t know how long this is going to last. We just have to stick to the process, keep yourself fit hopefully once things are back to normal, we can start playing the leagues again,” Ali told Sportstar.

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The right-arm pacer was a breakout star in the Caribbean Premier League 2018 for Trinbago Knight Riders with 16 wickets at an average of 20.81 and an economy of 7.80. He has also been part of Global T20 Canada, Bangladesh Premier League and the T10 League in Abu Dhabi.

Luckily, he left Pakistan in the nick of time. “It was already bad. Just the day after I left, all flights had stopped. If I had to stay one more day, I would have been stuck there. I got lucky in that sense. The flights were not that full and the airports were empty. I was in a 14-day quarantine by myself in Ohio. Overall in America, coronavirus is severe at the moment and we hear that the numbers are likely to go up.”

His team travelled from Karachi to Lahore for the playoffs which eventually stood postponed. “Some players had already left after playing behind closed doors. On the playoff morning, we found out that it is postponed until further notice,” he revealed.

By then, Ali had made most of his Pakistan trip. He met his grandparents and relatives. “I hadn’t seen them for long. A lot of friends wanted to meet me but I could not due to the isolation.”

Hungry for more

Ali received tips from the legendary Wasim Akram. “PSL was a great experience as it was happening in Pakistan. Every game was housefull. Akram was with our team, so I learnt a lot from him on swing and reverse swing. I got to play only one game because only four overseas players can be part of a team.

"Hopefully, if the playoffs happen, I hope to go back and win the tournament,” said Ali, who aspires to play in the Indian Premier League.

“I was in the IPL auction twice, but unfortunately, I didn’t get picked. I will keep working hard and IPL is still my dream,” he added.

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As of now, Ohio has reported 5,000+ COVID-19 cases with 190 casualties. Ali is training at home following a workout plan. “I am going through my bowling action, thinking about mobility and making sure the fitness is there."

“Most players in USA have full-time contracts. There is a lot of good stuff happening within USA cricket. It is not that they have to survive on other jobs but now, due to the virus, it might be hard for most of the players, including me, as the future is uncertain for the remaining part of the year." said Ali.

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