For the first time in history, the IPL will see participation by an American cricketer after Kolkata Knight Riders signed Ali Khan, a 29-year-old fast bowler from the USA, a report in ESPNcricinfo states. He will replace the injured Harry Gurney, who pulled out of the IPL and is set to undergo a shoulder injury.
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Khan was part of the Trinbago Knight Riders’ squad which remained unbeaten en route to their CPL title win. In the tournament, Khan picked up eight wickets from eight matches with an economy rate of 7.43. As per reports, Khan was on KKR’s radar last season as well but no deal could be worked out.
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Khan rose to prominence during the 2018 Global T20 Canada, where he caught the attention of star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who brought the youngster to the CPL. That year, Khan picked up 16 wickets from 12 matches for Guyana Amazon Warriors, the second-most by a fast bowler in the season. Bravo, in one of his Instagram stories, posted a video with Khan, Brendon McCullum and a few more inside a plan with the caption “Next stop Dubai.”
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Khan was selected in a USA squad for the first time for the 2016 Auty Cup and ICC WCL Division Four in Los Angeles. On his CPL debut, Khan dismissed Kumar Sangakkara with his first delivery. Back in December 2019, in an interview, Ali, who had registered for the IPL auction, had said getting picked in the IPL would be like a ‘dream come true’.
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“First of all, it’s a great honour to be the only USA player in the draft,” he had told Sportstar. I was in the auction last year but wasn’t picked, which was tough as I thought my chances were pretty good. This year, if I get picked, it’ll be something of a bonus. Since I started playing seriously, the IPL has been the one I’ve targeted. It’d be a dream come true.”