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February 20, 2013
Victoria 9 for 536 declared and 2 for 36 beat Queensland 322 and 249 (Ahmed 5-83) by 8 wickets
Every wicket Fawad Ahmed takes for Victoria will enhance his chances of earning Australian citizenship in time for this year's Ashes tour of England, with Cricket Australia believed to be continuing talks about expediting his collection of a passport.
Victoria's eight-wicket win over Queensland at the MCG to go to the top of the Sheffield Shield table could not have been achieved without Ahmed, who twirled past five Bulls batsmen in a display that left both teammates and opponents in little doubt he was ready for international duty.
"When he's qualified, he'll play for Australia pretty quickly, I'd imagine," said Victoria's captain Cameron White. "It's pretty simple. He's one of the better leg-spinners - if not the best - I've seen in first class cricket outside [Stuart] MacGill and [Shane] Warne."
Queensland's captain James Hopes reckoned Ahmed "the best wrist spinner in the competition" after one Shield appearance. "He's a match-winner, especially on pitches that turn," Hopes said. "He's got great control and he's got a good wrong 'un. He would hold his own at the top level, comfortably."
It was the latest chapter in Ahmed's wondrous story, which began with his departure from Pakistan in 2010 and has gathered momentum each time he has delivered his leg breaks and googlies with exceptional control, patience and considerable spin.
Under ICC regulations, Ahmed will be eligible to play for Australia after August 18 as he will have spent enough time in the country by then, or alternatively from the moment he receives his passport. CA were instrumental in advocating Ahmed's official recognition as a resident late last year, and it is understood those negotiations have continued around his admission to citizenship.
A clause exists within Australian law for exceptional athletes to have their cases brought forward, something seen in recent years in a number of Olympic sports as new immigrants have soon found themselves representing Australia. Ahmed's eligibility for this would likely hinge on his readiness to play Tests, and so more performances like this one will greatly enhance his case.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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