Strong domestic form has wrist-spinner in selector’s sights.The fairytale story of Pakistani refugee Fawad Ahmed could have a second chapter with news Australian selectors are considering picking him for the Ashes tour later this year.
If chosen, it would cap a remarkable rise from obscurity that saw him travel to Australia in 2010 seeking asylum after being persecuted by religious extremists for coaching and playing the game.
Ahmed’s form with Victoria since Christmas had landed him on the national radar with 16 wickets and praise from teammates and opponents.
However, under International Cricket Council rules, Ahmed is not able to represent Australia until August 18 or unless he is given a passport earlier which is currently being considered by the federal government.
Chairman of selectors John Inverarity is a fan of the wrist-spinner and said if selected, he would provide a tantalising sub-plot to what is already shaping up as an interesting 12 months in Australian cricket.
“Fawad is a mature and very good leg-spinner,” Inverarity said.
“All those who have played against him and all the coaching staff rate him as a good bowler.
“If (Australian selection) were all to happen, it would be a wonderful thing for our Australian society, that somebody of that background has come and through the medium of cricket has become a central figure in our community.
“(If eligible) He will all be considered on merit. There will be no favouritism or discrimination. He is a player of interest and he is potentially a lovely story in our community.”
While the story will be a heart-warming one for Australian sport, it underlies how bare the country’s spinner stocks are.
While Nathan Lyon is considered the most likely slow bowler to take part in the Ashes, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Steve O’Keffe have also been mentioned, but none in concrete terms of having their papers stamped for England.