IPL 2020: "I started crying", when USA's Ali Khan got told he'll be playing for KKR 

Khan had been roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders as replacement for Harry Gurney.

Ali Khan | GettyFast bowler Ali Khan became the first USA cricketer to be picked by a team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) when recently, two-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) roped him in for the league's 13th edition in UAE as a replacement for injured Harry Gurney. 

In one of the finest moments reflecting the merit-rewarding nature of the short-form leagues, Khan fulfilled his longstanding dream and shed tears when he learnt of his appointment in KKR camp by coach Brendon McCullum himself. 

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The 29-year-old right-arm quick had bored the pain of successive non-bidding at IPL auctions and hence, couldn't hold his emotions when the moment finally arrived. 

But Khan's journey to reach this far is very interesting in itself. 

He was playing for the US All-Stars team in the US Open T20 cricket tournament since 2013. Then in 2017, the team's founder Maq Qureshi brought West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to the set-up. 

Bravo, impressed by Khan's ability to nail down yorkers, got him down to the Winnipeg Hawks in the 2018 Global T20 Canada and also recommended him for Trinbago Knight Riders as a replacement for Ronsford Beaton in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2018. 

Bravo's push for Khan turned a corner for him, as he revisited his stance of initially looking to give up professional cricket following only one opportunity from a two-year stint with Guyana Amazon Warriors, to then play a key role in TKR's successful campaign that year. 

In this year's edition of the CPL as well, Khan showed his fighting spirit, overcoming a right hamstring strain that saw him miss the first four games of the campaign and taking his team to the play-offs, later their second title in three years. 

Ahead of the semi-final against Jamaica Tallawahs, McCullum, who also coaches Knight Riders' Caribbean version, told Khan during a team dinner at Port of Spain that a maiden IPL stint awaits him. 

"As soon as everyone sat in their seats, [Knight Riders coach] Brendon McCullum welcomed everyone to dinner and then he said, 'A man from USA will be joining us in Kolkata Knight Riders. I want to take this opportunity to announce that…'," Khan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo

"As soon as he said that, I was just like, 'Is this real?' DJ Bravo was sitting next to me and then he hugged me. I started crying because it was so emotional. It's something you dream about and then all of a sudden you hear it in your ears that this actually happened."

"I was very emotional and I was very happy. Everyone came and congratulated me. We had dinner and Baz gave me a big hug and said, 'You deserve it.' I said, 'Thank you, Baz. I will not let you down.'"

(Inputs from ESPNcricinfo)


By Kashish Chadha - 22 Sep, 2020

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