Victoria v Qld, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne

Wickets can put Ahmed on Ashes tour

Daniel Brettig

February 20, 2013

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Victoria 9 for 536 declared and 2 for 36 beat Queensland 322 and 249 (Ahmed 5-83) by 8 wickets

Fawad Ahmed celebrates the wicket of Greg Moller, Victoria v Queensland, Sheffield Shield, day 4, Melbourne, February 21, 2013
Could Fawad Ahmed be England-bound? © Getty Images

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 here

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Posted by AKS286 on (February 22, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

Lyon played soo many matches for Aus but still no one has the trust on him. always heard try this man try that man. due to the Poor lyon SHANE WARNE told many times he is thinking of coming back. Please come back Warne so CA can overcome and can heal the disease of SPIN. otherwise you and macgill known for legacy of spin, and Lyon will make sin period of Oz history.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

@Mikey76, you are forgetting Dernbach, Morgan and i´m quite sure Ballance and Rankin will be in around teams and squads at the highest level soon too. Both have already turned out for the Lions. Oh yeah and Kieswetter too.

Posted by Thefakebook on (February 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

I don't think Fawad should be selected for national duty.Not because he played just 1 shield game and took a five-fer,cause lets face it, the standards aren't pretty high to be a OZ test spinner even Marcus North,Smith,White,McGain(although it was too late for him any way),Beer,Dhorthy,Beau Cason,Krezja,Haurtez(best spinner in Australia he was called,ya right!),Hogg(too late on himm too) and now Lyon(goodness me) made it.Or because of the Tahir saga but because he will not be a long term prospect @33 nearly 34.Also can he do himself justice when being constantly compared to Swan who will out bowl him on many occasion.Will he be dropped after a few bad performance or given long run which won't be long anyway to begin with. But and its a big BUT if OZ do select him for the Ashes then hope he can be the best FILL_IN bowler in the history of test cricket untill Zampa or Agar or Turner or Boyce or Dooran or SO'K(unlikely,right Jhon Inverarity?) takes over HOPEFULLY!!

Posted by mikey76 on (February 22, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

Not sure where all these so called foreigners are in the England side? Cook, Bell, Root/ Bairstow, Anderson, Finn, Swann and Broad all born and bred in England. Prior born in SA but left when he was 8 or something so learnt all his cricket in Eng, similar story with Compton. KP and Trott fair enough, but it's funny how now England are successful everybody talks about it, but nobody cared when Tony Greig, Allan Lamb and Robin Smith were smashing runs back in the day. England is a very multicultural society which is reflected in our national sport teams.

Posted by kringston on (February 22, 2013, 2:11 GMT)

I feel as an ordinary bush cricketer i could score heavily from Lyon, Ahmed on the other hand has the potential to fill the hole left by Warne and Magill untill we can unearth someone of a decent standard.

Posted by left_arm_unorthodox on (February 21, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

Some bloke called Nathan Hauritz took a 5 for in that game... maybe we ought to give him a go in test cricket?

Posted by Favell on (February 21, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

Ahmed will be 34 in a couple of weeks. Getting him into the Aussie 11 will be like sticking a band-aid on a festering wound. It will soon peel off. I'd rather we produced our own spin wizards, rather than sweat on aged cricketers from the Sub-Continent. What happened to the "generation" of leg spinners the cricket commentators promised would be inspired by Shane Warne? More hype; more nonsense. But wait, there's Adam Zampa on the horizon. Might he benefit from a Warnie workshop? Probably not; Cameron White was in Warnie's backyard, started as a leg-spin bowler and went backwards.

Posted by Beertjie on (February 21, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

Yes, fast-tracking would be a mistake, but he could be useful in the 13/14 Ashes at Adelaide seeing how we couldn't dismiss the Saffers on the last day. Hope he's resilient enough to last until the home-bred leggies develop. Btw I've never raised a word against the SA connection among the English - restraint on trade, etc.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

@Meety, I can´t agree with you really. When did Australia last debut a spinner that has a solid record over two or three seasons. Hauritz, McGain, Doherty? That didn´t really work out either. I think we need our best xi on the field, not the guys with the longest records. If Hopes and White are right about him he may just be very handy, certainly here in Australia. Lyon needs to have a decent series in India or Fawad, assuming he gets his citizenship soon, and a bunch of others will be knocking on the door. Plenty of young blokes coming into state cricket at the moment in Agar, Turner, Rose, Zampa etc. They can´t all be duds! Nice to see Agar came straight back and took three poles today, Beer may not get back into the WA team.

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

@SirViv1973 on (February 21, 2013, 14:10 GMT) - the reality is, that only one of the three players you mentioned, learned their cricket outside Oz. England get pillored for imports as at times, half the team are from other countries & a large % of those players learned their trade overseas. At one point in time a couple of years ago, England had something like 11 foreigners debut out of 29 (one in three). The last Ozzy Test cricketer to debut for Oz who learned his cricket outside of Oz was Kepler Wessells, about 30 years ago! In regards to Ahmed, he has NOT been selected yet.

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

Happy for Ahmed. I don't want him to be considered for the Ashes though. IMO - a player shouldn't just waltz into an Ozzy side on the back of one or two FC matches, (personal dramas not included in the word waltz). As I said I am happy for him to have started well, but to me, he shouldn't be considered for higher duties until he has a completed a FULL season (preferably two), of Shield at least.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 21, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

1 five fer in a weak shield match and he's suddenly the answer to Australia's spin-absence problem. Things are pretty desperate at the Shane Warne academy of spin these days.

Posted by blink182alex on (February 21, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

I have to laugh when James Hopes said he is the best wrist spinner in the country, that's because there is no other decent wrist spinner. Boyce is ordinary, whilst Zampa sends down slinging leggies (although judge him better in 5 years).

1 five-fer and people want to get him in the side. Let's see how he does for the rest of the season and then we'll be able to get a better idea of him, but we shouldn't forget Lyon has 61 wickets at 32 in tests and has played a good job as the spinner in the last 18 months.

Posted by PratUSA on (February 21, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

33 year old already so not a really long term prospect. If he does get his chance, hopefully he won't turn out be yet another Imran Tahir. He just played his first game after 4 years so maybe he should be allowed to play the remainder of the season at least before deciding how good he is and if he can perform consistently.

Posted by LahoriLion009 on (February 21, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

Posted by oayaz01 on (February 21, 2013, 15:34) GMT spot on mate we have history of good fast bowlers and decent spinners but unfortunately two best bowlers get themselves banned and rest good fast ignored and can not get thier way to team due to bad selection.......hoping for good fast bowlers...

Posted by oayaz01 on (February 21, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

Pakistan should start feeding spinners to all the countries in the world as thats all we are producing, God knows where have the fast bowlers disappeared. Maybe Tanvir should start off breaks and who knows he may get a chance for NZ.

Posted by brusselslion on (February 21, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

If I were the Aussie PM, I'd give him citzenship, personally drive him to the airport now and make sure that he's ready to play in tomorrow's Test. At least then, there would be one bloke who might be able to spin a ball in the Australian XI.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

He is already 33, maybe just play a couple of ashes and go into oblivion. Strange, I thought, Shane Warne would do a better job if he returns.

Posted by AKS286 on (February 21, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

i read news about Warne's comeback. due to lyon (who embarrass Oz great history). Warne is soo much upset and will return to international cric. Warne kindly comeback to stop this spinning joke. @ TripleCenturian WK & allrounder seat is also vacant. healy criticizes Mathew Waste Wk & batting means all are poor.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

He did the right thing. He may thought he could not play for Pakistan as long as Ajmal and Rehman there, Australia is struggling to find a good spinner, so he went there but i want to see him against india (tour starting from tomorrow). Imran Tahir also did the same thing but unfortunately he is unable to perform.

Posted by klusenar2k13 on (February 21, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

I always though Fawaz is a very medicore player don't know if i am wrong

Posted by AKS286 on (February 21, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

haha now this time Oz selectors will not qualified for ashes. some special fans now have two players to cheers. on the previous Ashes special fans wrote Khawaja is next bradman and now syed aatif khan wrote he is FAR the best spinner. how you know?

Posted by SirViv1973 on (February 21, 2013, 14:10 GMT)

This is quite amusing. Us eng fans are regularly taunted by oz fans about our so called foreign legion. Now it looks as if the ozzies are going to start to bulid their own. Henriques & Khawalja both in the mix for their adopted country against Ind and now Fawaz being fast tracked in time for the ashes. It just shows how desperate Oz are to find a half decent spinner, that they would go to the lengths of fast tracking a 34 year old Pakistani who has only played 11 first class games. I would add a note of caution, I think plenty in the SAF set up thought they had found the answer to their spin problems when Tahir qualified for them and he has turned out to be a huge dissapointment and has now been dropped in favor of Robin Pietersen. Tahir also had a lot more FC pedigree than Fawaz has.

Posted by dwblurb on (February 21, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

I would love to see it happen. He really looks the goods.

Posted by dwblurb on (February 21, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

@Humphrey Hollins

"He needs six months residence a year for four years to qualify, its simple"

That's the case for a non-citizen, yes. In that case he woudl have to wait until August (having come to Australia in February 2010). However, if he becomes an Australian citizen he would qualify immediately, not having ever player for another international side.

Posted by hris on (February 21, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

Not much use in the Ashes. He would have been like gold in this indian tour

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

This guy came from a WAR torn country and he embraced cricket whiles in a detention center. From what i've read and heard he moved to Melbourne and played cricket there and raised through the ranks....... I personally believe that if he wants to show people i come from another country and want to show people i can do this good on him.... If hes picked for the ASHES all i can say is good luck to him and hope he does himself and hes family proud

Posted by TripleCenturian on (February 21, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

At the least the Saffers in the England team have a British parent or spent a few more years here before qualifying. He must be a shoe in for the Ashes as Doherty, Lyon and the other spinning options are hardly worth paying an airfare for, to come across to England in an Ashes squad. If the Aussies can now fast track passports for an opening bat, two middle order men to replace the retired Ponting and Hussey, and a couple of seamers who can stay fit, then they might make a game of it!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

He needs six months residence a year for four years to qualify, its simple.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

well he richly deserves this...he is by far the best spinner in the current lot!

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 21, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

Imran Tahir first then its the SA and Aus players in NZ team? and now Fawad, so good cricket performance seems to be the new way for immigration and citizenship!!! Anyways happy for this bloke Ahmed!

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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