Pakistan-born US fast bowler Ali Khan has become a fan favourite and mainstay in the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) family since joining the team for the 2018 edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
The 32-year-old pacer has established himself as a wicket-taking option capable of bowling in the power play or at the death.
Although not originally drafted by TKR for the 2023 season, Khan has quickly showed that he has not lost a step. A brilliant final over against Jamaica Tallawahs at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Sunday eked out a two-run win, and he also bowled a good penultimate over in a victory against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots earlier this season.
His ability to swing the ball and execute yorkers makes him a difficult bowler to face for many batsmen.
Five years since first donning the TKR jersey, Ali Khan's legacy has been cemented with 44 wickets to help his team to two CPL titles (2018 and 2020).
Since showcase his skills for Winnipeg Hawks in the 2018 Global T20 in Canada alongside then captain Dwayne Bravo and head coach Waqar Younis, Khan's career has taken off.
It was the perfect storm for Khan as he learned under the tutelage of two quality bowlers. "Bravo and Waqar Younis, working with them, that has helped me a lot," Khan told ESPNcricinfo. "They gave me a lot of confidence from day one."
Fully embraced by the Knight Riders family, Khan has gone on to represent the Kolkata Knight Riders, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and Los Angeles Knight Riders, among several other T20 franchises around the world.
Khan made his CPL debut in 2016 with the Guyana Amazon Warriors and got the prized wicket of Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara with his very first ball. He has added many other top-tier scalps to his name and will be keen to add a few more this year for the Knight Riders' cause.
The American missed the 2022 season with injury and his absence – coupled with that of former captain Bravo – showed as TKR finished dead last in the competition, for the first time.
Injuries have threatened to derail the speedster in the past,but Khan continues to fight back and make a name for himself.
He became the first US player to compete in the Indian Premier League and his exploits have been instrumental in growing the game in the US. With the 2024 ICC Twenty20 World Cup set to be jointly hosted by the West Indies and USA, Khan's dream of playing in a World Cup for his country will be realised.
But in the interim, Khan still has business to take care of with his TKR family and will be expected to be given a grand welcome from local fans as the tournament shifts to the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on Tuesday. Welcome back, Ali Khan.