Days before the commencement of much-awaited IPL 2020, Ali Khan’s lifelong dream of plying his trade in the premier T20 league got fulfilled. He became the first USA player to play in the IPL after being roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders as the direct replacement of fast bowler Harry Gurney.
After delivering impressive performances for Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in this year’s Caribbean Premier League, the speedster paved his way into the KKR dugout. In the tournament, Khan picked up eight wickets from eight matches with an economy rate of 7.43.
Khan reportedly was on KKR’s radar last season as well after his display in the 2018 Global T20 Canada. He was initially spotted by West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo in the US Open T20 tournament. Khan was a part of US All-Stars side when Maq Qureshi, the founder of the US Open T20 cricket tournament, roped in Bravo to play for the side in 2017.
Khan’s ability bowl yorker after yorker convinced Bravo to draft him in at the Winnipeg Hawks in the 2018 Global T20 Canada, and then to recommend him to the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) management as a replacement for Ronsford Beaton in the CPL. Khan had nearly given up on his professional cricket aspirations until Bravo changed his fortunes.
We had dinner and Baz gave me a big hug: Ali Khan
His career has witnessed a monumental growth and in the past week, 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 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.
Source: Cricket News – CricTracker