The ascendancy of franchise-level T20 tournaments around the world has dawned a new era for the game of cricket. A decade ago, none would have entertained the idea of young guns from small nations like Nepal and Afghanistan taking the cricketing world by storm.
Fast forward to 2020, this is a stark reality. The emergence of cricketers like Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Sandeep Lamicchchane is the most significant achievement for the game and its quest for expansion.
Similarly, Ali Khan’s acquisition by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is a landmark moment for the game. Ali etched his name in the record books by becoming the first American cricketer to be a part of the IPL.
The seemingly-unconquerable gap between cricket and the United States of America (USA) has been bridged with this procurement. The 29-year-old has been roped in as a replacement for Harry Gurney, who pulled out of the tournament due to shoulder injury.
Ali will be coming after enduring a stellar title winning-campaign with Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020. He picked eight wickets in as many games at an economy rate of 7.43 for the franchise.
Here are the five amazing facts about KKR’s latest recruit:
- Born on 13th December 1990 in Pakistan, Ali Khan’s family emigrated to the USA when the pacer was 18. Apart from him, Imran Tahir is another Pakistan-born to feature in the IPL.
- Ali had played just one ODI for the USA but has featured in numerous T20 leagues. He has earlier plied his trade for Khulna Titans (Bangladesh Premier League) Karachi Kings (Pakistan Super League), and Kabul Zwanan (Afghanistan Premier League). He has also played against Yuvraj Singh in Global T20 Canada.
- Ali was among five cricketers who were named as the ‘breakout stars’ of 2018 by the International Cricket Council (ICC). He shared the honour with Sam Curran, Prithvi Shaw, Shimron Hetmyer, and Mohammad Abbas.
- Ali played his solitary ODI against Papua New Guinea in 2019. He has an experience of nine List A matches and 36 T20s thus far.
- Khan’s exploits in 2018 Global T20 Canada impressed Dwayne Bravo, who then convinced TKR hierarchy to acquire him in the auction. Khan dismissed Kumar Sangakkara on the first delivery of his CPL career.