In an incredulous development, Ali Khan became the first American cricketer to have been roped in the Indian Premier League as Kolkata Knight Riders bagged him as the replacement for Harry Gurney in the forthcoming edition of the IPL.
A move that came as a shock to the others, KKR wanted to board this young lad after his meteoric rise in the shortest version of the game saw him claiming 19 wickets from 17 games. He was also a part of Trinbago Knight’s Riders that lifted the CPL 2020 without suffering a single defeat in the fray.
In this piece, we will try and enlist everything that you need to know about this untoward pick by Kolkata Knightriders that is still to be assimilated by most.
Who is Ali Khan?
Muhammad Ahsan Ali Khan made his List A debut in January 2016 as he donned on the jersey of the ICC Americas team in the 2015-16 Regional Super50. He made a thunderous debut as he scalped Devon Thomas and Aldane Thomas in a rippling performance against Jamaica. His performance in this fray got him the call up for the national camp that was to participate in the 2016 ICC World Cricket League Division Four.
In the Global T20 Canada tournament, he was picked up by the Winnipeg Hawks and the youngster impressed big time with a few startling spells for them. His vertiginous ascent made the selectors notice him and he cracked the code of the national team as he was picked in the United States squad for the 2018-19 ICC World Twenty20 Americas Qualifier tournament in Morrisville.
How did he come out in the international scene?
After making headway on the national team, he was once again picked for the United States team of the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament. His performance sparked ripples all around the world as he shortly found himself being notched up by the Khulna Titans.
His impressive performances saw him climbing the steep ranks of cricket as ICC named him as one of the five breakout stars in men’s cricket in 2018. The team of United States showed considerable promise in the international tournaments and they were shortly touring Namibia as they were headed for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament. He hogged illustrious limelight upon him when he scalped five wickets against the hosts.
The United States finished in the top four of the tournament that finally saw them claiming the ODI status. He finished the fray with 17 wickets from 6 games, quite a handsome return for a youngster learning to fly.
In June 2019, he got a call for the United States cricket team just before the Regional Finals of the 2018-19 ICC T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier tournament in Bermuda. He was also picked by Vancouver Knights for the Global T20 Canada tournament. He has also managed to play for Kabul Zwanan and Karachi Kings in the PSL.
Where will he fit into the Kolkata Knight Riders squad?
The KKR squad has already got quality spinners like Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine. However, in case if Narine wants a break for himself or suffers an injury, they will need someone to step up. This is where Ali Khan comes into the picture. He has always been on the expensive side but his wicket-taking knack is what will make him stand out amongst others.
However, there will be a considerable concern in the Knights’ ranks as he is still to face the big guns of cricket. Despite getting a taste of them in CPL, it will be a completely different ball game when he arrives in UAE to play for KKR.