Ali Khan, the American pacer who has been part of the Trinbago Knight Riders for three seasons now in the CPL, has been added to the KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) squad, making him the first American Cricketer to be a part of the IPL.
Khan replaces England left-arm pacer Harry Gurney, who had to skip both the IPL and the T20 Blast in England in order to undergo surgery to his injured shoulder. Khan was picked on the back of a stellar Caribbean Premier League, taking a total of 8 wickets at an economy of 7.43, helping his side win the title. The fact that TKR and KKR have the same parent company might have helped Ali in signing for KKR as well.
Khan was seen on an Instagram stories post by the Trinbago and Chennai Super Kings allrounder Dwayne Bravo, shot inside a plane, with the caption “next stop Dubai”, which raised curiosity among people.
Khan has been deemed to be a specialist death bowler who can clock in excess of 140 km/ph and has a good yorker. His most noted performances on the International stage include a 49th over effort against Namibia in 2019, when he took three wickets to derail a chase that had come down to 14 off 12, to keep USA’s hunt for ODI status alive. He was also Man of the Match in the United States’ first win over Kenya in 2018.
His big break on the T20-league stage came in 2018 after he was spotted by the then Trinbago captain Bravo at the Global T20 Canada. Bravo brought him to the CPL, and in his debut CPL season, Khan took 16 wickets in 12 matches, the second-most among fast bowlers across teams. Since then, he has had stints in the Bangladesh Premier League and the Pakistan Super League as well.
Khan, though, will have a tough time finding a place in KKR’s 1st XI, with the likes of Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Green, Pat Cummins, and Lockie Ferguson among the choices for overseas players. Although, given that Khan is a specialist bowler at the death, something that the franchise has been yearning for a long time, KKR will be tempted to play him at some point of time.