2-time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders have added an American player to their squad for the first time ahead of IPL 2020. The Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise signed Ali Khan to replace Harry Gurney. The English pace bowler opted out of IPL 2020 because of a shoulder injury.
Ali Khan was a part of the Trinbago Knight Riders team that won the recently-concluded Caribbean Premier League in the West Indies. 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.
Since he plays international cricket for the USA team, fans may not know much about the 29-year-old. Here are the five things that the cricket universe needs to know about Ali Khan before IPL 2020.
5. Ali 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 Kolkata Knight Riders signed Ali Khan. It is noteworthy that Delhi Capitals made history a few years ago by signing Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
This move helped them gain fans in Nepal. It will be interesting to see if signing an American player helps the Kolkata-based IPL franchise build its fan-base in the USA.
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4. IPL 2020 will not be the first time Ali Khan will play in the UAE
Ali Khan has been a part of the Abu Dhabi T10 League in the past. He was a part of Zaheer Khan's team, Delhi Bulls, in the 2019 edition. Besides, he also played against Yuvraj Singh in the Global T20 Canada League last year.
Speaking of his performance in the T10 League, Khan has played eight T10 games in his career, scalping nine wickets and his best figures being 2/15.
The American fast bowler grabbed eyeballs by bowling a double-wicket maiden in the T10 competition in 2019. Since Abu Dhabi will host many matches of IPL 2020, Kolkata Knight Riders may look to include Ali Khan in their playing XI.