IPL 2020: Know Ali Khan - the first USA cricketer to feature in the league

Ali Khan is set to become the first USA cricketer to feature in IPL 2020. Kolkata Knight Riders has roped in the fast bowler as a replacement for Harry Gurney.

Ali Khan (right) and Fawad Ahmed celebrate their Caribbean Premier League title win.   -  Twitter/@IamAlikhan23

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 has featured in the Caribbean Premier League and the Pakistan Super League in the past.

And this year, he will be the first USA cricketer to play the Indian Premier League (IPL) - donning the Kolkata Knight Riders colours.

While the franchise is yet to make it official, it has been learnt that the 29-year-old Khan will replace Harry Gurney for this edition of the franchise league.

READ: USA's Ali Khan replaces Harry Gurney at KKR

The right-arm fast bowler was part of the IPL auctions for the last two years, but went unsold. He 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 the Caribbean Premier League. 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, in 2018, 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.

Ali Khan with Shah Rukh Khan during the CPL.   -  Special Arrangement

 

From thereon, his career graph has only gone up.

He featured in this year’s Pakistan Super League for 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.

READ: How coronavirus cut-short Ali Khan’s PSL homecoming

During the PSL, 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,” Ali had told Sportstar.

Being a professional cricketer, the uncertainty of the leagues due to the COVID-19 situation had caused 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.

But as things eased out, Ali was available for Trinbago Knight Riders in the just-concluded CPL - where he scalped eight wickets in as many matches, with an economy rate of 7.43. He played a key role in TKR winning the title. And his consistent performances also helped him earn an IPL contract - something he has been chasing for long.

 

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