- He has signed up with Kolkata Knight Riders owned by Bollywood super stars Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla.
News that for the first time in history, the IPL (Indian Premier League) will see participation by American fast bowler Ali Khan, has elated cricket enthusiasts in the U.S. Two-time IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, owned by Bollywood super stars Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla signed 29-year-old Khan, ahead of IPL 2020, scheduled to start September 29. Khan will replace the injured Harry Gurney, who pulled out of the IPL and is set to undergo a shoulder surgery.
Khan is the first American to earn an IPL contract. Over the last 13 years, IPL franchises have signed players from all over the world. However, not a single player from the American team could earn the elusive IPL deal until now.
“First of all, it’s a great honor to be the only USA player in the draft,” Khan 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.”
It will be interesting to see if signing an American player helps the Kolkata Knight Riders build its fan-base in the U.S.
Ali Khan, who was born in Punjab, Pakistan, moved with his family to Ohio, when he was 18. He rose to prominence during the 2018 Global T20 Canada, where he caught the attention of star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who brought the up and coming cricketer to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Khan grabbed eyeballs by bowling a double-wicket maiden. The right-arm quick bowler returned with figures of 2/25 in the final match against St Lucia Zouks, scalping the crucial wicket of Rahkeem Cornwall. That year, Khan picked up 16 wickets from 12 matches for Guyana Amazon Warriors, the second most by a fast bowler in the season.
Khan was selected in the U.S. squad for the first time for the 2016 Auty Cup and ICC WCL Division Four in Los Angeles. In his CPL debut, Khan dismissed Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara. Back in 2019, Khan, who had registered for the IPL auction, had said, “getting picked in the IPL would be like a dream come true.”
Ali Khan has been a part of the Abu Dhabi T10 League in the past. He was part of Zaheer Khan’s team, Delhi Bulls. Besides that, he has also played against all–rounder Yuvraj Singh in the Global T20 Canada League last year.
Anu Ghosh immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1999. Back in India she was a journalist for the Times of India in Pune for 8 years and a graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Journalism and Communication. In the U.S., she obtained her Masters and PhD. in Communications from The Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes! She has been involved in education for the last 15 years, as a professor at Oglethorpe University and then Georgia State University. She currently teaches Special Education at Oak Grove Elementary. She is also a mom to two precocious girls ages 11 and 6.