Ali Khan’s lifelong dream of bowling in the premier T20 league got fulfilled just days before the commencement of much-awaited IPL 2020. He became the first USA player to play in the IPL Kolkata Knight Riders acquired his services as the direct replacement of fast bowler Harry Gurney who is injured.
After impressive performances for Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in 2020 Caribbean Premier League, the pacer paved his way into the KKR dugout. In the tournament, Ali Khan picked up eight wickets from eight matches with an economy rate of 7.43.
Ali Khan Initially Spotted By Dwayne Bravo
Ali Khan reportedly was on KKR’s radar last season as well after performing excellently in the 2018 Global T20 Canada. He was initially spotted by West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo in the US Open T20 tournament. Ali Khan was a part of US All-Stars side when Maq Qureshi, the founder of the US Open T20 cricket tournament, roped in Dwayne Bravo to play for the side in 2017.
Ali Khan’s ability to bowl yorkers successively convinced Dwayne Bravo to draft him in at the Winnipeg Hawks in the 2018 Global T20 Canada, and then he recommended him to the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) management as a replacement for Ronsford Beaton in the CPL. Ali Khan had nearly given up hopes on his professional cricket career aspirations until Dwayne Bravo changed his fortunes.
Ali Khan Congratulated By KKR Coach Brendon McCullum After Announcing Him As A Replacement For Injured Harry Gurney
His career has witnessed a monumental growth and in the past week, Ali Khan lifted his second CPL title in three years with TKR squad. Ahead of their semi-final encounter against Jamaica Tallawahs, the Knight Riders’ squad had gathered for a team dinner when Ali Khan came to know about the start of his journey with the Kolkata franchise.
“As soon as everyone sat in their seats, [Knight Riders coach] Brendon McCullum welcomed everyone to dinner and then he said, ‘A man from the USA will be joining us in Kolkata Knight Riders. I want to take this opportunity to announce that…’,” said Khan as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
As soon as he said that, I was just like, ‘Is this real?’ DJ Bravo was sitting next to me and then he hugged me. I started crying because it was so emotional. It’s something you dream about and then all of a sudden you hear it in your ears that this actually happened.
“I was very emotional and I was very happy. Everyone came and congratulated me. We had dinner and Baz gave me a big hug and said, ‘You deserve it.’ I said, ‘Thank you, Baz. I will not let you down’,” added Khan.
Brendon McCullum popularly known as Baz is the head coach of KKR congratulated Ali Khan as he was picked as a replacement for Harry Gurney, the England bowler who picked up an injury and was ruled out of the tournament.
Harry Gurney featured in only eight matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2019 edition, taking seven wickets. The English pacer will undergo a shoulder operation soon. He confirmed that he has withdrawn from England’s T20 Blast and the IPL 2020.