The United States has yet to play in the cricket World Cup. Ali Khan, a 29-year-old right-arm pacer, emerged from the country. The Kolkata Knight Riders have included him in the squad this year as a replacement for Harry Garney.
Ali Khan spent his childhood in Attock district of Pakistan. Cricket has pulled him like a magnet. Being a fan of Shoaib Akhtar so Ali Khan decided to be a pace bowler. From the popular tape ball cricket in Pakistan’s alleys to the sharpening of yorkers and slowers Ali Khan stablished himself in the United States as the ‘Yorker Machine’.
At the age of 19, he flew with his family to the United States for his father’s job. Ali realized that his cricketing career was over. So he did not take any cricket equipment with him when he left Pakistan.
Ali started working in the sales department of a mobile manufacturing company in Ohio, USA. But his mind was not at work. His uncle took him to a club in Ohio one Saturday. Ali took five wickets in the match. Seeing his skills, his uncle took the initiative to send him to a cricket club in Washington DC. Ali worked from Monday to Friday. On Friday night, he would travel 400 kilometers to reach Washington. He used to return home after playing cricket on Saturdays and Sundays.
In an advertisement in 2015, he saw the ICC taking the team from the United States to play in the West Indies. Ali flew to the West Indies with a place in the 15-man squad. It was there that Courtney Walsh was impressed with his ability and speed to make a series of yorkers. In the CPL in 2015, Ali got a chance in the Guyana Amazon Warriors team and dismissed Kumar Sangakkara with the first ball. Ali Khan’s life changed.
In 2016, he and Dwayne Bravo played in the same team in the United States T20 League. Impressed with Ali’s bowling, Bravo suggested taking him to Trinbago Knight Riders. Responding to his advice, Ali was included in Shah Rukh Khan’s team in 2016. Ali Khan’s bowling talent helped TKR win the title with 18 wickets in 12 matches.
This time he also got eight wickets in eight matches in CPL. He is one of the heroes to make TKR a champion. Former Indian wicketkeeper Kiran More has seen Ali get ready. He was the coach of the United States until 2019. In Moore’s words, “Her slinging action. Delivery like Malinga. With the yorker, it is difficult to understand the slower ball.” Will he succeed? Only time will tell.