Victoria v Qld, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne February 20, 2013

Wickets can put Ahmed on Ashes tour


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 here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anupam 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Satish 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!!

  • michael 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.

  • shane 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.

  • Darren 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?

  • Keith 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.

  • Mashuq 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Andrew 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.

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