IPL 2020: Ali Khan Becomes First USA Cricketer to Join Tournament as KKR Come Calling

Former champions Kolkata Knight Riders have replaced Harry Gurney with fast bowler Ali Khan from USA for IPL 2020 in UAE. The bowler was on KKR's radar as a standby player last season as well.

IPL 2020: Ali Khan Becomes First USA Cricketer to Join Tournament as KKR Come Calling

Former champions Kolkata Knight Riders have replaced Harry Gurney with fast bowler Ali Khan from USA for IPL 2020 in UAE. The bowler was on KKR's radar as a standby player last season as well.

The 29-year-old comes in on the back of a good season with the Trinbago Knight Riders, the CPL franchise with the same parent company as KKR, in which they won all 12 matches to seal the title. In CPL 2020, he took eight wickets in eight matches with an economy rate of 7.43.

He was seen on an Instagram stories post by the Trinbago and Chennai Super Kings allrounder Dwayne Bravo, from inside a plane, with the caption "next stop Dubai".

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Khan becomes the first player from USA to play in the IPL. Interestingly though, a former Rajasthan Royals bowler Rusty Theron, who now plays for USA, did feature the now defunct Deccan Chargers in 2011 and Kings XI Punjab in 2010. Theron, who was part of the Royals in 2015, moved to USA from South Africa in 2019.

Khan can hit speeds of more than 140kph and often bowls in the slog overs, and is known to have a good yorker. Among his most noted performances are 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 USA's 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 that debut 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.