For the first time in the 13-year-old history of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the league inducts a player from the USA. The Kolkata Knight Riders have roped in 29-year-old fast bowler Ali Khan as its replacement for English seamer Harry Gurney for this season. It is a major development in US sports news, with a cricketer getting exposure in one of the top leagues of the world.
Ali Khan was born in Pakistan and later moved to Ohio with his family. He has played only one ODI for the US following the country gained the ODI status last year. Khan has played in several T20 leagues, including the Global T20 Canada, the Bangladesh Premier League, the Caribbean Premier League and the Pakistan Super League.
The right-arm fast bowler was part of the IPL auctions in the two previous years. However, he went unsold. In 2016, he came to limelight after picking up former Sri Lankan 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 Trinbago 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. Khan is known to bowl at speeds of more than 140 kph and his lethal yorkers have crushed many a batsmen’s toes.
He was part of the Trinbago Knight Riders who won the Caribbean Premier League on September 10. He picked up 8 wickets from as many games with an economy rate of 7.43 in TKR’s unbeaten run to the title.
During his Pakistan Super League stint this year for Karachi Kings, Ali had played in front of his own people. But his stint was cut short to just one match because of the coronavirus, where he took the wicket of Sarfaraz Ahmed.