USA's Ali Khan is one of the three cricketers from ICC's associate member nations to register for the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, to be held in Jaipur on December 18. Ali will go under the hammer from a base price of Rs. 40 lakh ($62,000). The other two cricketers are Hong Kong's Anshuman Rath and The Netherlands' Stephanus Myburgh.
Ali played for the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League and had a memorable outing for the Shahrukh Khan owned franchise and helped the side win the title.
Ali, right-arm fast bowler, is originally from Pakistan and shot to fame in 2016 after he picked up former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara's wicket during his stint with Guyana Amazon Warriors in CPL. His in-swinger to Sangakkara nipped back just enough to take the edge and carry through to the keeper.
But Ali soon suffered an injury, hurting his left hamstring while training with the USA team. The injury also saw him lose his CPL contract with Guyana.
However, this year Ali made a strong comeback with the Knight Riders. He got the CPL final off to a perfect start with a wicket off the first ball of the match with his medium pace.
The 27-year-old Ali is looking forward to the auction. Speaking to Sportstar from Ohio on Wednesday, he said: "It is a great feeling to be part of the draft and I hope to get picked. That will be a great moment in my career. I am thankful to my coaches and also to the Knight Riders for giving me opportunity (in the CPL)."
"It (the CPL) was a great learning process for me and we won the tournament. All the coaches like (Simon) Katich, (CEO) Venky (Mysore) Sir were all great. They made me feel at home," he added. But he did not consult the Knight Riders people before applying for the IPL auction.
"I spoke to my agent and got into the draft," he said. "It is important to get picked, doesn't matter which team (I play for). It is a great honour to play the IPL. It is the biggest league in the year. If I get picked by KKR, it will be great since I know the people.
But at this point, I want to be there (for any team) and play the league," Ali said.He was part of the Bengal Tigers in the just concluded T10 League, where he got to train under coach Stephen Fleming, who happens to be the coach of Chennai Super Kings. "Fleming was a great coach. It was good to work with him and learn his style," Ali said.
The franchises need to submit their choice of players to be short-listed for the auction, by next Monday.
If the focus will be on Ali, Odisha-born Rath will also be hoping to get a look-in by the franchises.
Rath, who led Hong Kong in the Asia Cup, can be effective with the bat in the shorter format.
But then, of the 70 slots available, eight teams can pick only total 20 overseas players, so it would be interesting to see whether associate nation players get a chance.
The third member in the list, Myburgh is a Dutch cricketer of South African origin and has played 13 ODIs and 28 T20Is for the Dutch national side. He is a left-handed batsman and right-arm off-break bowler.
Last year, Nepal's Sandeep Lamichhane made headlines by making into the Delhi Daredevils (now, Delhi Capitals) squad for Rs 20 lakh and has been retained by the franchise for this year's league.