Sports, Cricket News – Pakistani asylum-seeker Fawad Ahmed, who was granted a permanent Australia visa in November, wants to play in the Ashes against England, and his state coach believes he is good enough.
The 31-year-old leg-spinner took seven wickets on his Sheffield Shield debut for Victoria two weeks ago and has been getting another chance to shine against New South Wales at the Melbourne Cricket Ground since Thursday.
Australia’s spinners have been struggling in recent Tests and Victoria coach Greg Shipperd is certain Ahmed has the skills to play at Test level.
Ahmed left his home in the border region near Afghanistan to come to Australia on a short-stay visa in 2010, claiming he was targeted by Muslim extremists because of the perception that cricket promotes Western values.
He was granted a permanent visa to stay in November and quickly established his credentials at the Melbourne Renegades in the T20 Big Bash League and with an appearance for the Prime Minister’s XI against the West Indies in January.
He is eligible to play for Australia as soon as he is granted citizenship, although under International Cricket Council guidelines he can also play for his adopted country once he has lived at least half of four consecutive years there.
The ICC has determined this criterion will be fulfilled in August this year, toward the end of the the Ashes series in England. Another Ashes series is in Australia later in the year.
Ahmed said he was focusing only on the Sheffield Shield at the moment, but admitted that playing for Australia was his dream. (AFP)