Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) has roped in Pakistan-born USA fast-bowler Ali Khan as their replacement for English pacer Harry Gurney ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Khan, who will be the first-ever USA cricketer to feature in the cash-rich T20 tournament, was acquired by KKR after Gurney was ruled out due to a shoulder injury.
The 29-year-old Khan was a member of the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) squad that won this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) earlier this week after beating the St Lucia Zouks in the final.
Khan has fairly good numbers under his name while bowling in T20 cricket. In 36 matches so far, he has picked up 38 wickets at an average of little above 27.
Other than TKR, he has also plied trades with Guyana Amazon Warriors in CPL, Karachi Kings in Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Khulna Titans in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) among others.
Reportedly, KKR had initially expressed desire to acquire the service of Mustafizur Rahman to replace Gurney, but Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) disallowed the bowler to play in the IPL.
Meanwhile, The 2020 season of the IPL will be played for 53 days across three venues in the UAE — Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai. KKR will begin their campaign against Mumbai Indians in September 23 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The final match will be played on a Tuesday, to make it the first-ever IPL to have its final on a weekday. The matches this season will also start 30 minutes before their original time of 4 PM and 8 PM.
The IPL 2020, which was scheduled to be played from March 29 this year, was earlier postponed to April 15 before it was suspended again due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, after the International Cricket Council (ICC) formally announced the postponement of the T20 World Cup, the BCCI capitalised on the opportunity to stage the IPL during the time the T20 World Cup was dated to take place.
But with the coronavirus situation escalating in India with each passing day, the Indian board decided to move the tournament out of the country. It is believed, UAE was chosen keeping in mind their prior experience of hosting a limited part of the tournament in 2014.