Australia news May 30, 2013

Parliament gives Ahmed Ashes hope

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Fawad Ahmed moved one step closer to an Ashes call-up on Thursday when a bill was introduced to federal parliament that could alter Australia's citizenship laws. Under the current system, Ahmed is unable to obtain an Australian passport until August, shortly before the final Ashes Test, but if passed, the bill introduced by immigration and citizenship minister, Brendan O'Connor, would allow a fast-tracking of that passport.

O'Connor did not refer to Ahmed by name in parliament on Thursday but he mentioned cricket as a sport that would be covered by the Australian Citizenship Amendment (special residence requirements) bill 2013. The changes would allow the minister to fast-track the citizenship claims of people whose work benefits Australia but who do not meet the existing residency requirements, and sportspeople would fall into that category.

"The new instrument will include international cricket competitions as a specified activity and adds Cricket Australia to the list of organisations that may support an application," O'Connor said. "The proposed amendments will give the minister the discretion to provide a pathway to citizenship for a very small number of people in very exceptional circumstances where their becoming a citizen would be of benefit to Australia. Australia should be proud to call these people their own."

However, the move is far from a guarantee of Ahmed's Ashes eligibility, because there are only 13 sitting days of parliament remaining in the current session and a significant backlog of legislation waiting to be passed. The bill is expected to be debated next week. But it does give Cricket Australia hope that Ahmed could play a part in the early stages of their Ashes campaign after they left one place vacant when naming the 16-man squad last month.

"Those of us who have seen him bowl have been very impressed with him," national selector John Inverarity said when naming the squad. "He's a very good legspinner and yes he does remain in contention. We've selected 16 players and we state now that should the need arise we will add to the squad. We don't know when he's going to become eligible, but there's always that possibility."

Ahmed, 31, played ten first-class matches in Pakistan before moving to Australia in 2010 as an asylum seeker. He impressed in his first few matches with Victoria last summer, collecting 16 Sheffield Shield wickets in three games, and was highly praised by current and former players including Stuart MacGill. If he does join the Ashes squad he will increase the pressure on Nathan Lyon, the incumbent Test spinner and only specialist slow bowler in the group.

"I think Nathan is well and truly aware of that," captain Michael Clarke said this week. "He knows where he sits in the team. There is a lot of water under the bridge before we have to worry about the first Test match."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • landl47 on May 30, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    If he's the best Australia has got, and if he's eligible to be selected, then he should be picked. Not having seen him bowl, I'm not able to offer any comment on how good I think he is. I am a little surprised, though, that Australia's selectors would think that a bowler with no test, and little first-class, experience, no experience at all in England and no match practice for 5 months would be able to step right in and play in an Ashes series in England. If he were to be successful in those circumstances, he would indeed be a top-class player.

  • on May 30, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    I don't see anything terribly wrong with this. It's a law that already exists and has been applied in the past for other sports (and outside sports as well), but which rather oddly didn't include Cricket. Ahmed is a legitimate refugee who left his home and cricketing career in Pakistan to make a new life in Australia, and who is for all intents and purposes an Australian cricketer now. Now, whether he's be a good selection for the Ashes team is another question! The danger would be to say 'well we had to change the law to get him in, now we have to play him.'

  • Biggus on May 30, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    I'd rather he wasn't rushed in to the national team but would prefer him to pay his dues in the Shield until he's made a strong case for selection. If he's able to do so then he should be selected, but not before, and most certainly not because he just happens to be a leggie. We've had more than enough speculative selections lately.

  • Yes.Valkyries on June 4, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    @AKS286 Yes its true that Australian class fall under Clarke's captaincy & the team is divided into Clarke's men & non-Clarke's men. but it is the fault of management rather than Clarke. Mark Taylor nurture Steve Waugh- Waugh to Punter and then to Pup but Clarke still not nurture any future leader. Smith is the committed man but the problem is he is not a member of playing XI. In the Fawad case yes it is a quick gamble (not decision), i also want that S'OK, Beer, Boyce, Agar, Doherty, Zampa should get proper chance. Change in Law may bring mass but not class. and also Openers are main problem instead of spinners. Cowan is not upto the mark & Warner's form is poor, Hughes still not in the form, If we leave Clarke the middle order is inexperienced.

  • AKS286 on June 4, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    @ScottStevo Clarke is a good batsman in test and his performance is really good but he is a very poor captain. you said after Katich what after Katch retirement or axing or throw out of team?

  • AKS286 on June 4, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (June 2, 2013, 14:21 GMT) Yes fella Johnson is the best in all format. After the retirement of McGrath, Gillespie, Lee He is the only man who dominate the Aus cricket & bowls beautifully around the world. Clark(not used properly), Bracken(Not in tests), are just supportive. R.Ponting used MJ so well and he has a lots of faith on him. Clarke who trust on Starc and MJ is ignored remeber fella 74 all out Vs SL. Clarke ignored MJ with 3-0-11-3. Steyn & co bowls in toughest pitch of India ie Motera Ground & Steyn picks 7 wickets to beat India. Eng also taste the defeat over there. and kindly Check out the Australia's downfall & insecurities, performance under Clarke's regime. Aus now called Underdogs and Clarke's loves it.

  • ScottStevo on June 2, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    ...but he may get a call up if he bowls well in the CT and a few of our bowlers get injured (which is a strong possibility!). All captains are under scrutiny, however, on the field, Clarke is proving himself a good captain and his performances are remarkable since taking over. As for him cutting and selecting players, I think you overestimate Clarke's responsibilities here. Whether Clarke is galvanising the dressing room as well as other captains, possibly not, but he's only just starting/learning. Your criticism of him is massively unwarranted.

  • ScottStevo on June 2, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    @AKS286, Who is making excuses? Actually, after Katich left Watson and Warner formed quite a decent partnership until Watson got injured. Not having a world class spinner isn't an excuse, it's common knowledge! In India it certainly isn't great not having a spinner of quality. I'm not so sure of conditions when Steyn and co. played in India, but I can assure you, that the decks that Anderson co. bowled on got the second half of that series were a load more reasonable than those Aus played on, simply due to the fact that Aus batting were collapsing against spin and we didn't have a spinner to cause Ind problems. The decks for Aus got dryer and dustier whereas for England they were getting better and better for fast bowling as Ind struggled against Swann & Panesar. I agree, I'm no fan of Wade either, nor Maxwell and I'm not that keen on Cowan either. I also agree that Johnson is bowling very well at the moment, but he's not our best in all formats- but was unlucky not to in the squad.

  • it_happened_last_in_2001. on June 2, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    @PakiPace on (June 1, 2013, 13:30 GMT) ... you have hit the nail smack bang on its head. Where are this 31 year old man's international caps? He may be a reasonable bowler, better perhaps than the incumbent aussie spin options, but one thing he won't be is the next SK Warne. He may do ok, he may be awful, he may never even get a baggy green cap. Who knows. I'd say he's unlikely to be a match winner in this current Aus team because I genuinely don't think their batting is going to score enough runs to give him something to bowl at. Aus selectors should be trying to decide on their best 11 players. Let's not forget our old pal Xavier Doherty, picked because KP can't play left arm spin. There were 227 reasons at Adelaide why perhaps they should have thought twice.

  • Biggus on June 1, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    @AKS286-What I want is for you to get your facts right, that's all. I wouldn't have thought that was an unreasonable expectation.

  • landl47 on May 30, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    If he's the best Australia has got, and if he's eligible to be selected, then he should be picked. Not having seen him bowl, I'm not able to offer any comment on how good I think he is. I am a little surprised, though, that Australia's selectors would think that a bowler with no test, and little first-class, experience, no experience at all in England and no match practice for 5 months would be able to step right in and play in an Ashes series in England. If he were to be successful in those circumstances, he would indeed be a top-class player.

  • on May 30, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    I don't see anything terribly wrong with this. It's a law that already exists and has been applied in the past for other sports (and outside sports as well), but which rather oddly didn't include Cricket. Ahmed is a legitimate refugee who left his home and cricketing career in Pakistan to make a new life in Australia, and who is for all intents and purposes an Australian cricketer now. Now, whether he's be a good selection for the Ashes team is another question! The danger would be to say 'well we had to change the law to get him in, now we have to play him.'

  • Biggus on May 30, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    I'd rather he wasn't rushed in to the national team but would prefer him to pay his dues in the Shield until he's made a strong case for selection. If he's able to do so then he should be selected, but not before, and most certainly not because he just happens to be a leggie. We've had more than enough speculative selections lately.

  • Yes.Valkyries on June 4, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    @AKS286 Yes its true that Australian class fall under Clarke's captaincy & the team is divided into Clarke's men & non-Clarke's men. but it is the fault of management rather than Clarke. Mark Taylor nurture Steve Waugh- Waugh to Punter and then to Pup but Clarke still not nurture any future leader. Smith is the committed man but the problem is he is not a member of playing XI. In the Fawad case yes it is a quick gamble (not decision), i also want that S'OK, Beer, Boyce, Agar, Doherty, Zampa should get proper chance. Change in Law may bring mass but not class. and also Openers are main problem instead of spinners. Cowan is not upto the mark & Warner's form is poor, Hughes still not in the form, If we leave Clarke the middle order is inexperienced.

  • AKS286 on June 4, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    @ScottStevo Clarke is a good batsman in test and his performance is really good but he is a very poor captain. you said after Katich what after Katch retirement or axing or throw out of team?

  • AKS286 on June 4, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (June 2, 2013, 14:21 GMT) Yes fella Johnson is the best in all format. After the retirement of McGrath, Gillespie, Lee He is the only man who dominate the Aus cricket & bowls beautifully around the world. Clark(not used properly), Bracken(Not in tests), are just supportive. R.Ponting used MJ so well and he has a lots of faith on him. Clarke who trust on Starc and MJ is ignored remeber fella 74 all out Vs SL. Clarke ignored MJ with 3-0-11-3. Steyn & co bowls in toughest pitch of India ie Motera Ground & Steyn picks 7 wickets to beat India. Eng also taste the defeat over there. and kindly Check out the Australia's downfall & insecurities, performance under Clarke's regime. Aus now called Underdogs and Clarke's loves it.

  • ScottStevo on June 2, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    ...but he may get a call up if he bowls well in the CT and a few of our bowlers get injured (which is a strong possibility!). All captains are under scrutiny, however, on the field, Clarke is proving himself a good captain and his performances are remarkable since taking over. As for him cutting and selecting players, I think you overestimate Clarke's responsibilities here. Whether Clarke is galvanising the dressing room as well as other captains, possibly not, but he's only just starting/learning. Your criticism of him is massively unwarranted.

  • ScottStevo on June 2, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    @AKS286, Who is making excuses? Actually, after Katich left Watson and Warner formed quite a decent partnership until Watson got injured. Not having a world class spinner isn't an excuse, it's common knowledge! In India it certainly isn't great not having a spinner of quality. I'm not so sure of conditions when Steyn and co. played in India, but I can assure you, that the decks that Anderson co. bowled on got the second half of that series were a load more reasonable than those Aus played on, simply due to the fact that Aus batting were collapsing against spin and we didn't have a spinner to cause Ind problems. The decks for Aus got dryer and dustier whereas for England they were getting better and better for fast bowling as Ind struggled against Swann & Panesar. I agree, I'm no fan of Wade either, nor Maxwell and I'm not that keen on Cowan either. I also agree that Johnson is bowling very well at the moment, but he's not our best in all formats- but was unlucky not to in the squad.

  • it_happened_last_in_2001. on June 2, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    @PakiPace on (June 1, 2013, 13:30 GMT) ... you have hit the nail smack bang on its head. Where are this 31 year old man's international caps? He may be a reasonable bowler, better perhaps than the incumbent aussie spin options, but one thing he won't be is the next SK Warne. He may do ok, he may be awful, he may never even get a baggy green cap. Who knows. I'd say he's unlikely to be a match winner in this current Aus team because I genuinely don't think their batting is going to score enough runs to give him something to bowl at. Aus selectors should be trying to decide on their best 11 players. Let's not forget our old pal Xavier Doherty, picked because KP can't play left arm spin. There were 227 reasons at Adelaide why perhaps they should have thought twice.

  • Biggus on June 1, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    @AKS286-What I want is for you to get your facts right, that's all. I wouldn't have thought that was an unreasonable expectation.

  • AKS286 on June 1, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    @ Biggus on (June 1, 2013, 13:49 GMT) I know Fella its a strong proposal but Ashes fear is too much for Aus. It can be change. This matter is in Parliament what else panic button you want?

  • Biggus on June 1, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    @AKS286-You should really read an article carefully before trying to debate it. The law has been introduced to Parliament, but has not at this point been passed, nor is it a certainty that it will be, so to assert, "The law is changed due to the fear of Ashes loss but even law can't save Aus," is incorrect. In addition, the bulk of comments here by Aussies are not in favour of rushing him in to the team. If you want people to take you seriously you should try to get your facts right at the very least.

  • PakiPace on June 1, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    I cannot understand the fuss here. If this guy had any test potential, he would be wearing our own Pakistani green right now! Just like Imran Tahir, the proper batsmen will start picking his variations very soon. The "test" in Test cricket means what it says!

  • AKS286 on June 1, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    @ ScottStevo on (June 1, 2013, 10:20 GMT) Look the best thing is Accept your failures and don't try to patch with excuses. Try to solve the problem. Katich axing gives Aus Cowan and opening problem started. trust your Fast bowler instead of spin hype (learn from SA). SA never comes up with spin excuse and they are no.1 test side. Jimmy reverse swing & Steyn pace works in sub-continent but Oz bowlers fails to get reverse swing (except LYON but his pace is low) & pace. Clarke captaincy is under scrutiny. Clarke's boy fails everywhere like Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Matthew Waste, Starc, Lyon, Maxwell. Johnson is the best pace bowler for Aus in all format. Paine, Haddin, Hartley, Handscomb are ahead of M.Waste.

  • ScottStevo on June 1, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    @FFL, That's because Australian cricket hasn't stooped to the lowest ebbs that England did. Also, it's comical to think that the "unskilled" shield players have pretty much dominated the "superior" county game for so long...You talk as if there's a massive gap between Aus and England, yet results would prove otherwise, in all forms of the game...and this is supposed to be when we're at our weakest. Doesn't say much for the strength of this so called great English side, does it? @AKS286, It's quite easy to make a list of all of the games any side has lost...what's your point? As per usual, I fear there's no point to your drivel.

  • Biggus on June 1, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    @FFL-You're a fine one to be talking of 'honest reflection'.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 1, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    @ AKS286 : Agree, it's a shame that the reaction is this one from certain Oz fans. Only recently RandyOz still called Lyon the 'Best test bowler', which surprisingly he hasn't used for a while :/ Things like this, time and time again, come back to haunt Aus. There's seemingly no room for honest reflection, no wonder Australia have slid ever so far behind the rest of the top teams. It comes down to lack of skilled players, yes, but the fact is that the very weak Australia Shield system is producing these players. England had to go back to basics and reform their county system before they started producing superstars. And that took years. Oz haven't even begun that process yet.

  • AKS286 on June 1, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    The law is changed due to the fear of Ashes loss but even law can't save Aus. The law should be changed like IPL that we will purchase players for a season to represent Australian side. Australia will definitely choose Harbhajan or Mendis to represent Aus in Ashes. At least before changing law they must try Hauritz, Boyce, Agar, Warne, Hogg.

  • AKS286 on June 1, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge on (May 31, 2013, 20:38 GMT) Mate when I said England beat Australia in previous Ashes, India whitewashed Aus,India won the WC'12, SA beat Australia, Clarke axed seniors & Beer is the most successful spinner in BBL--- Then Oz fan told me these are not fact. i have no answer Fella for Oz fans.For last many years Oz fans tried to convince us that lyon is not a school cricketer but World's best spinner; And now fawad is what No1 or No2 spinner in the world? This Ashes'13 loss can bring Aus in the track because CA will take some strong decisions.

  • Sinhaya on June 1, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    Good luck Fawad. I am so happy for you. Hopefully you turn out to be better than Nathan Lyon.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 31, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    @AKS286, Well remembered. The fact is that every rank turner Lyon has been handed in his career (Sydney, India etc etc) he hasn't been able to turn the ball, and capitalize on what should be a paradise of a pitch for spinners. He is but half the bowler that Swann is, although even one-eyed fans have long accepted that. Aus really need to search the academies or, more likely because the cupboard is bare, fast track Ahmed like what is presently being done. They will need a spinner even this summer in England. We all saw what happened in India.

  • SirViv1973 on May 31, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    @Valvolux, In regards to Stuart Broad, I think if you look at his overall record it's ok but certainly not outstanding 195 @30.93. His record isn't great re Aus but he does posses the ability to be a match winner hence the oval in 09 & a couple of weeks ago at Lords against NZL. He would be nowhere near the 200 hundred mark if he could only take wickets when there was cloud cover. A good example would be in the UAE against Pak last year when he returned 13W @20.46 for the series. I also think you are judging him by his overall career stats which is a dangerous think to do & dosen't tell the whole story, he is now a much better bowler than those stats suggest. Since 2011 he's taken 96@26.5 and for much of 2012 he was suffering from a troubling heel problem which restricted his pace. All in all whichever way you look at it he's no club bowler.

  • AKS286 on May 31, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Stop playing Paper cricket. The Fact is Swanny + Monty won the IND tour. lyon don't, doherty don't, Maxwell don't. I'm talking RESULT not Paper stats. who will forget Sydney test against SL lyon flops on that too. THESE are FACT not virtual imagination.

  • valvolux on May 31, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    @sirviv thanks for your reply, the point of my post was that this ashes wont be won via spin for australia....it will be won with seamers. so forget about this guy. swann is a fine bowler and may very well dominate this series, because some of our guys cant even play poor spin. englands bats can however play poor spin, so no point fielding a spinner for the sake of it. in regards to SB and SF. SB was mighty useless in 09 until the clouds rolled in for one session...and was even more useless in oz. just as he has been in non condusive conditons his whole career. his injury won eng the last ashes. no doubt about it. finn was also dropped in australia. if you refer to an average of 32 bolstered by bags taken in the rain...remember that MJ and BH have FAR better records in and out of the clouds...and no one in australia rates them. pretty sure those discards have taken far more wickets at a far better strike rate than the club cricketers eng have backing up anderson.

  • SirViv1973 on May 31, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    @Valvolux, your post has pretty much skimmed over what the article was about & you have chosen instead to have a pop at Eng's bowling options instead. As the recent 2 game series against NZL showed Eng have a very well balanced bowling attack for home conditions. Aus pace bowlers are at best untried in Eng conditions with Siddle the only one having played test cricket here before. It's also very difficult to agree with your assement of BH & MJ being better bowlers than SF & SB considering the former pairing were both had an horrendours time during the last ashes which lead to both men being dropped. SF & SB have almost 300 test wickets between them which collectivleyis about the same as what your 5 guys have collectivley hardly 'streets ahead' as you put it! whether Aus choose to play a spinner or not they will be at a marked disadvantage as Swann once again prove what a top qulaity performer he is with his 10 for at Leeds this week.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on May 31, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Swann .... 10 Ashes Tests, 29 wickets at 40. Yes, I'd expect Lyon to be dropped if he cant reach those sort of heights. Lyon's form plateued after a promisibg start but hopefully his finish in India will see him in a more confident mood in England. I suspect Ahmed will play in the 2 Australia A Tests in S Africa in August i think and be considered for the home Ashes Tests if he does well there and in the early part of the Sheffield Shield season.

  • on May 31, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    it is a good sign of cricket AUS it is a great team but lake of spin bowler but now if fawad ahmad play for AUS in Ashes it is a very good for AUS because ENG player not played well to spiner

  • Marktc on May 31, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    A lesson can be leant from South Africa....Tahir was drafted into the test side (ex Pakistan) and was also seen as the international answer to their spinning blues....and we all know how that went. Does this smell of Aussie panic? I thought Lyon was doing a decent job, he is no Warne, but is also no mug.

  • Rowayton on May 31, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Just thought I'd remind Front Foot Lurch again, Nathan Lyon has better Test figures, both in runs per wicket and balls per wicket, than Monty Panesar (and Dan Vettori come to that).

  • SettingSun on May 31, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    @Lilam Flynn - How is Australia's recent record working out for you?

  • on May 31, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Isn't this strange- on one hand you are getting the ECB lengthening the qualification period for foreign born players to 7 years, and in this case they are trying to fast track a foreign born spinner through parliament into the Australian team. What is going on?

  • on May 31, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Let's face it - the only way the Poms will be competitive in the upcoming series is if they were to draft some quality players like Steyn, Philander, Kallis and Amla and send the current B-grade chaps back to county cricket. Ahmed certainly won't be needed against a side that was whitewashed against Pakistan and who were conclusively crushed playing against the Saffas.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 31, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    @mukesh_LOVE.cricket: You serious thought just for a moment that the Australian selectors grew wise after the Argus review? Australian cricket is famous these days for not having a spinner, not even a player who can pretend to do the job. The infamous Lyon proved a disaster not just because he is a typically poorly skilled shield player, but as everyone knows he doesn't turn the ball. I expect him to last, like every other Aussie spinner of the last six years, half an Ashes series, and be consigned to that footnoted list in Australian cricketing history which reads 'Australian spinners dropped after a few Ashes matches after England took him apart'. And England have Swann. All '20 wickets in India' of him :)

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on May 31, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    i thought Australian selectors grew wise after the Argus review , guess am wrong, now this guy may be good may be not , but what is the logic in changing the laws so that one 31 year old guy with no proven international record and little first class experience is fast tracked into national team to play in England where anyway spinners wont have much of an impact ?? lyon is young and should be persisted with,failure in India where even the greats warne and muralitharan have done poorly cannot be a reason why he is omitted

  • gbqdgj on May 31, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Just question to Aussie fans, would it not be more sensible to stick with the seam attack and use Clarke's off spin? He turns the ball a reasonable amount and I doubt we'll be preparing wickets that turn square...the Oval apart if we have a long hot dry summer (yeah right...like that'll happen)!

  • Jason83 on May 31, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    SirBobJones: Well said mate. Seriously, Nathan Lyon must understand by now he is not seriously backed by the selectors to remain in the job. I mean, he was dropped in India for Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell (of all spinners) and now there is this rubbish talk about him being dropped for a guy that is played 3 first class game last season at moderate success. FACT OF LIFE: unless the selectors and the entire Australian public stop wanting and craving another Warne, maybe they will realise we will NEVER have a spinner of his quality again. How many of Warne's quality have been produced in history???????? History says one or two if u include Muralitharan.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on May 31, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Oh ,God England's Ashes is doomed even with 1 month to go for the start . To add to the unenviable task of facing up to the world's most lethal pace battery in the young Aussie tearaways in heavy swinging conditions , a world class leggie is waiting to prey on Eng's spin Psychosis . Memories of Warnie likely to come flooding back and haunt them the length of the Ashes .But firstly to make it hattrick of Champ's Tropy and land the 1st psychological blow on the Poms .

  • bobagorof on May 31, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    MinusZero: There have been a few selections like that recently, and some people are calling for a few more - Shaun Marsh, having had a terrible first class season, was mentioned by Shane Warne as being a must in the national side because he had a couple of good games; Jordan Silk is touted by many people, but has only played about 3 matches. At least Ahmed has the benefit of having played for a number of years, even if they weren't First Class games. But I agree, let's see how he does in a second Shield season before elevating him.

  • Naseer on May 31, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    the move is out of sheare disperation after India series, the selectors are warry of same kind of failure, therefore they are looking for disperate measures, because they are putting pressure on Gvt to allow him play for Aus, but this will be unfair because a guy with a few games put in to the ashes stright away, he will be under immesne pressure, which could not allow him play his natural game, because he wuld be shuldering harvest of expectatins when he goes to England on exceptional basis. I think he should be given time t settle, and go into the team in normaly way so he is nt under any extra pressure.

  • valvolux on May 31, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    Not sure he will even get a game. Haven't seen him, but his brief record isn't that awe inspiring. Australia's best chance is to play 4 seamers. Forget about this guy and forget about Lyon. Pattinson/Bird/Harris/Siddle/Starc (in that order) - are all streets ahead of England's second best paceman...god, even M Johnson and Hilfy are better than Broad/Finn (not tremlett however). Warnie's ashes success just makes us think that spinners are needed in England, when in fact they aren't. They prepared spinning wickets in the last ashes and at times the poms fielded two very good spinners in Swann and Panesar - but to be honest, even on a spinners paridise in the 5th test at the oval, they weren't all that effective even on day 5 where they laboured to bowl oz out. In Cardiff they were downright useless (as they were in Australia). England have a dour history against *good* spin -not against spinners like Lyon that cant take a wicket on a 5th day pitch.Dont get that confused selectors.

  • MinusZero on May 31, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    I disagree with fast tracking a passport because someone plays sports. He should wait like normal people. Australia are likely to lose the Ashes anyway. Seems like a kneejerk reaction bringing in a player with limited experience because he had one or two good games.

  • on May 31, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    I would like my country (Australia) to welcome people from every land and from every creed. However, preference should not be given to the business person, the wealthy or the sporting hero. It should be given to refugees, and others on humanitarian grounds, who are most in need.

  • dirkwellham on May 31, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    the point we are not seeing is this guy wasn't good enough to play for pakistan, is he really our saviour?

  • hailianpak on May 31, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    Guys I dont know about OZ citizenship rule regarding different sports but I dont see anything wrong with this. If he's good why not give him a chance and if he performs Australia's biggest weakpoint will be coverd. See what Pietersen, Trott, Morgan and Prior are doing for Eng. Even Eng has a system of giving citizenships on sports basis. Apart from that, Damien Martyn didn't call him 'The Best after Warne' for no reason. MacGill praised him also. I've seen him bowl in BigBash and WI in a tour match and he really impressed me especially because of his line and length and big turn. Yes its a gamble but u have to take risks to be able to get the best.

  • Chris_P on May 31, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    The guy comes to a country seeking political asylum & that country is criticized for taking him in? That aside, I seriously doubt he is even in the mix after 3 games. SOK's figures are far better than his, plus he can bat & field better. From what I have seen of him, he is solid, seriously guys, he is nowhere near the mix. @Meety, couldn't agree more, he has to present a case for selection backed up by a season of results, not 3 games.

  • SirBobJones on May 31, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    What a kick in the guts to Nathan Lyon and an absolute embarrassment to everyone else.

  • SirViv1973 on May 30, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    @Poms_have_Sort_memories, and your point is? Are you in some way trying to make a comparison between a player who was struggling to get a FC game in Pak & the greatest leg spinner of all time who has 708 test wickets. The only thing Fawad has in common with Warne is that they have both played for Victoria!

  • on May 30, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    we are proud that we are exporting cricketers now

  • thenoostar on May 30, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    This sounds like England throughout the 90s. I suppose Australian cricket is at it lowest point since the mid 80s. Everyone said the decline West Indians suffered could never happen in Australia. They haven't bottomed yet.

  • samincolumbia on May 30, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Australia should be wiser not to fall into the trap of making people from certain countries their nationals like England did, especially Pakistan.

  • AKS286 on May 30, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    I think Warne come back is less pathetic than this. ajantha Mendis is also a good import for Aus. always with super comments by our mate Front_Foot_Lunge. Now Oz are having World's no 1 (lyon )& no 2 (fawad) spinners in the history of cricket. The conclusion is WhiteWash by ENGLAND in ASHES.

  • poms_have_short_memories on May 30, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    A lot of comments regarding selection of an untried player with a less than stunning first class record, I recall a certain young leg spinner by the name of Shane Keith Warne being selected once and he turned out okay.

  • hhillbumper on May 30, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    Ironically did you notice that English cricket got better when it stopped importing Aussies? Bit like the Aussie team really. The less Aussies in it the better chance you get

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 30, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Oh dear, this seems the tipping point to end all tipping points. I do pity RandyOZ, getting owned this much can't be much fun. Now a new topic for the aussie trolls must be found, let's see....Cook is rubbish because he scored 766 runs last Ashes not 767 runs. And he's only got 25 test centuries to his name at the age of 27. That'll do!

  • hhillbumper on May 30, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    randy oz you blow me away with your insight.By the way.to play for England you actually have to have some links and a long residency.Seemingly given your paucity of talent you are whistling down the wind.At least our players have English heritage. As for your crack re multicultural England have a history of welcoming people. We don't leave them on an Island of our coast or have a whites only policy.Also how is the great treatment of the Aborigines going? Love you Randy

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on May 30, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    anything is better than the non spin of Lyon. Or should I say seamer Lyon. Who doesn't perform when it matters and people still want in the side to develop even though we keep losing matches. Time to let someone else have a go. O'Keefe or Ahmed

  • Fluffykins on May 30, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    Dream on if you think this will shut ill informed posters up from India and Australia from wittering on about a subject they clearly have not thoroughly investigated. I am sure the excuses are already flowing from the Aussie camp.....

  • getsetgopk on May 30, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Some India fans on here making the most ludicrous of comments. If KP is ready to apologize on a youtube video, is ready to apologize in person, and is ready to give a written apology for his actions ONLY to play for ENGLAND then tell me something, who is an Indian to say some on the matter? As for Fawad Ahmad, he clearly couldn't stay and continue his cricketing career in pakistan and no commendation of CA is enough for what they are doing to help a fellow cricketer not just have a peaceful life but also get a chance to play at the highest level. As a Pakistan supporter, I'll be extremely happy to see Fawad gets a baggy green and shine.

  • whatawicket on May 30, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    good luck to the guy if he gets selected. anyone going to the eng v aus at lords could be lucky enough to sit next to randy then he could get the benefit of his multicultural knowledge of the Australian test side.

  • OhhhhhMattyMatty on May 30, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    Embarrassing. This blokes not even as good as Adil "FC tons for Fun" Rashid.

  • on May 30, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    Now maybe the Aussies (and one in particular) will stop going on about England and their so-called foreign players, the majority of whom are not foreign by any stretch of the imagination despite the best endeavours of some people to make them so.. either through sheer ignorance and/or plain stupidity. Having got that of my chest, I've been an avid defender of England picking the best available and eligible players, therefore.. I say good luck to Australia, although I can't help but get in one last dig... England have never fast-tracked a passport to give a player instant eligibility.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 30, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    Oh dear... the Aus. trolls will have to find something else to tease England about now. What I don't understand is why O'Keefe and Hauritz have been ignored... again. So does this finally mean Aus. are out scouting for batsmen too? Mohammad Yousuf perhaps?

  • RandyOZ on May 30, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    As I was showing one of the Oz A players around here in East Anglia I was informed that the selectors and former players pick young talent and ensure they keep getting selected to vindicate their 'pick of the young players.' Smith and Henriques were given as examples. This clearly shows that it is a boys club and hence why SOK always misses out.

  • Dan9999 on May 30, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Goodness me Australia this is embarrassing, I love it!! 3-0 England I'm afraid.

  • Farooq123456789 on May 30, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    Pakistan have produced quality spinners, Abdul Qadir, Mushtaq Ahmad, Saqlain Mushtaq, Saeed Ajmal etc. Pakistan bowling always remain their strength and now hopefully Ahmad will boost aus bowling attack as a australian after getting australian passport. I wish him best of luck.

  • Herbet on May 30, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    Just to clear up a point, one genuine 'Saffa' will compose Englands top order batting during the Ashes, one with English heritage, and I mean Trott. Cook, born in Essex, Root, born in Yorkshire, Trott, a South African, Pietersen, English mother, Bell, born in the midlands, Bairstow, born in Yorkshire. And, if we are including Prior, he may have been born in South Africa, but to English parents, and he has lived here since he was a toddler, so he aint no South African. And if you want to throw Nick Compton into the mix, though I doubt he'll play, his grandaddy was one of the greatest English batsmen of all time, so he, obviously, has a fairly solid claim to being English too! When Jos Butler is tearing up the CT you'll struggle to link him to South Africa too!

  • gbqdgj on May 30, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    @ all Aussie fans here. I have real sympathy for you guys here. From what you say (and I haven't seen Ahmed) play, he doesn't appear to be proven. I have seen Lyon (who actually isn't bad) and O'Keefe who I think is better and I just think this situation is actually rather demeaning to Shield cricket and you true Aussie fans. Personally, as an Englishman I just hope we have enough batting quality to see off your pace attack which seems to improve by the month.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 30, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    There are some conspicuously absent posters from this particular debate today, which is a shame. The reason professional cricket commentators and ex-players' opinion differ markedly from some of the opinion expressed here is that this situation is the polar opposite of, for example, the Pietersen situation for Eng: As we all know Pietersen not only has a) England parentage, he has b) paid all his taxes as a working adult in England, has c) stood up and said 'My name is Kevin Pietersen and I am English', and d) His passport states what he, along with everyone else and the players himself states he is. So that kills all debate, apart from the jealous ones. I would love to see a talented player like Ahmed wear the baggy green, after Lyon's humiliating year in cricket we all certainly know that there is not a single spinner in Australia of test quality. And of course England have Swann. @Mitty2: Yes, this does mean the cupboard is bare, but we've known that for 6 long years

  • on May 30, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Imran Tahir had 600 first class wickets before making his debut for SA and everyone knows how he has fared in International cricket. He may still turn it around, but so far his performances have been disappointing. Fawad has played very few first class games and his record is good, but not extraordinary for a country like Australia to rush in his citizenship. I would understand if it is an associate nation like Netherlands or Ireland which pushes his case, but Australia doing it clearly shows their desperation.

  • jmcilhinney on May 30, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    @gsingh7 on (May 30, 2013, 10:17 GMT), gee, you must be the only one clever enough to have picked that up. Seriously, you don't think maybe some English fans are gleeful about this specifically because we've had to cop it for so long?

  • on May 30, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    Again this obsession with dead beat spinners by Australia. Unless we agree to throw like the rest of the world then there is no point picking any spinner as we have none. Stop wasting your time and pick all fast bowlers which is where the strength is.

  • KhanGermany on May 30, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    i think Fear Factor is playing major role here why not try someone like Ahmed who can boost CA efforts to give a good fight otherwise Englishmen will roll over Clarke and his men easily.I am really happy to see another Pakistani player after Usman Khawaja playing for Australia great.

  • whatawicket on May 30, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    to be serious i have no problems with cricketers been fast tracked and if right, re his circumstances in Pakistan are correct. it happens in most sports maybe not as quick. but in these days its no big deal.

  • on May 30, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    @whatawicket

    remind again how man saffas compose ur top order batsmen.

  • Aussiesfalling on May 30, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    I presume that fast-tracking Fawad was one of the suggestions that came up as a result of Clarke's Homeworkgate.

  • on May 30, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    How low has cricket in Australia sunk if it has come to this level of desperation. Will they be paying Pakistan a transfer fee? This sort of thing really cheapens international sport and illustrates the real level of national confidence of Australia.

  • blink182alex on May 30, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Nathan Lyon should be and is the number 1 spinner. He has been the number 1 ever since he debuted and whilst he is not Shane Warne (who is though?) he has done an underated job for Australia. Looking back at our last 4 series, Lyon has been our leading wicket taker in 3 of those series, whilst not great in India he showed with his 9 wickets in the 4th test he can succeed against the best in the world. I think play Ahmed in the odi's following the tests if Doherty didn't do much in the Champions Trophy. Since his debut Lyon is 6th on the list of wicket takers in the world, ahead of every english bowler so lets not dump Lyon just because his not Shane Warne because nor is Fawad Ahmed.

  • whatawicket on May 30, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    the Saffas and the Aussies now go to the same player supper market as England (well at least ours have english parets). if you want a leg spinner look to Pakistan. even the Australian Parliament is now passing laws to get them a spinner. now don't that look bad. he he he

  • armchairjohnny on May 30, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    When I first read the article headline, I was rather hoping for Mushtaq Ahmed :P

  • Jeppo on May 30, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    I don't quite understand why Australia would want a bowler who has only played 13 first class games, especially considering Fawad is 31 years old. An average of 32 isn't the best I've seen for a spinner either - fellow countryman Saeed Ajmal has a first class average of under 27.

    I know Nathan Lyon isn't particularly world-class either, but at least he's more experienced.

  • 200ondebut on May 30, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Oh dear - this smacks of desperation and an acceptance of defeat already.

  • Biggus on May 30, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    @Naresh28-I guess you'd have to find someone who actually wanted to migrate there.

  • trav29 on May 30, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    @beertje even taking account of that hes still a 31 year old who has only played just over a dozen FC games in his life

    he might be the real deal but it again smacks of desperation by the aussie selectors , continuing the recent trend of looking for a miracle solution to their problems rather than realise they need to invest time in the players they already have

  • janakakads on May 30, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    all the people comment on this article don't know about this guy, current selectors will get sum-thing right if they pick him, he's better that the spinners in Australia at the moment, also we all know poms cant play leg spin, common mate take your chance, prove these people what you can do,

  • on May 30, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Wow, lots of unsourced comments here, has anyone actually seen him bowl? He is very consistent, spins it hard and his opponents have lauded him. MacGill and Damien Martyn aren't calling the best since Warne for no reason. So enough Tahir and McGain comparisons, this guy will be fine. As for Agar,he is better than Lyon in my opinion, but probably not quite as good as Ahmed.

  • Batmanian on May 30, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Mystery spinners have long been a part of the game - plucked out of nowhere and given a shot. Just reminds us how strange it was to have Warne pencilled in for so long. The usual way is a few accurate offies, a leggie with little control, little job security at the top...

  • Beertjie on May 30, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    @trav29 on (May 30, 2013, 4:48 GMT), like you I haven't seen him but the guy was in limbo for 3 years through no fault of his own. I'm not overly optimistic myself but just the surprise element on any spinner's track is worth having him there. I agree with others that as a package SO'K offers more, so can't understand his continued sidelining. He's not great, but he ticks all the boxes just as Rogers did. Can't agree @PYC1959 on (May 30, 2013, 4:51 GMT) about anyone automatically being there for the series. Lyon remains number one but without the pressure of imminent removal he, like Watson, Hughes and others, are liabilities. Only partly agree @Wefinishthis on (May 30, 2013, 5:05 GMT). Agar and Zampa are too inexperienced atm. For me it's between SO'K and Fawad. @ jmcilhinney on (May 30, 2013, 6:26 GMT) The claim is that it was for coaching WOMEN cricketers in the fundamentalist hot-bed area!

  • Naresh28 on May 30, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    HELP India needs a fast bowler from W/I. We can fast-track him. How about Rampaul.

  • gsingh7 on May 30, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    although its wrong to pick players born in other countries, but i hope that the irony of english fans lambasting aus for picking players from other countries is not lost on u.

  • Buckers97 on May 30, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Pick Steve O'keefe for God sakes. What has he done wrong! He is the leading slow bowler in Aus domestic cricket and doesn't even get a mention. Had a way better season than Ahmed, who will be secon in line for Vic next summer to Holland, and O'keefe is less expensive and can bat a bit better than Lyon and Ahmed.

  • aqua_omer on May 30, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Pakistan should start charging other countries for exporting their spinners. Mushy has been working with England as spin bowling coach, Saqlain has worked with Bangladesh as a consultant, Imran Tahir has played for Safers and now Fawad Ahmed.

    I think he'll be just an average bowler, good at club level but not at international level coz had he been an exceptional talent, he would have stayed in Pakistan and not would have mved to OZ.

    But seeing the limited resources Ausis have in spiinning department, this is not a bad gamble as he will be still a better bowler than Lyon on day 5 English wickets not sure about Day 1 and Day 2.

  • on May 30, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    This shows hw desperate the Austalians are. They knew they will get been during the upcoming Ashes. It shows they do ot trust their current squad to lift urn. My tip England to win 3-1.

  • on May 30, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Australia are now so desperate for a half decent spinner that they are changing the countries laws to accommodate him?!! Where England lead Aus follow (albeit a lot more desperately!) is it RandyOz?....You're very quiet on this subject mate.

  • TheUltimateTruth on May 30, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Doing well in three Sheffield games is enough to get into the Australian team now? Mike Hussey spent more than a decade playing outstanding first class cricket before they picked him for the national team. The times, they are a changin!

  • Herbet on May 30, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Oh god, I really hope he gets picked for the Ashes. Not only could we then start having a go at the Australians for 'just packing their team full of Pakistani's', but also, you can't beat a wayward untried leg-spinner for helping the run-rate along. As Bryce McGain so expertly proved!

  • No_Excuses on May 30, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    The lad hasn't actually been picked to play for Australia yet so I would be holding all fire until he does. Agar looks a much better bowler for mine and can hold a bat. As the Saffers found out Pakistani leggies might look good at domestic level but can't make the jump.

  • Jadejafan on May 30, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Another Imran Tahir I guess. These imports/exports are wrong and need to be taken really seriously because far too many these days.

  • on May 30, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    don't get me wrong, But I see nothing special in his stats to be hyped about so much.

  • Theredbaron on May 30, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    Australia are getting desperate now fast tracking passports, is there no more home grown talent. How about pinching some South Africans like England & NZ have.

  • Biggus on May 30, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    @Syed Atif Amin:-Being Pakistan-born will be no barrier against him being selected. Despite what some people may tell you we're pretty open minded down here, and generally very welcoming to new Australians, as long as we all make an effort to get along with each other. It's only fair though that he should have to prove himself in the same way as locally born players do. Shane Warne and Mustaq Ahmed were both very fine bowlers, and it's probably fair to say at this point that with only 3 Shield games so far under his belt we're not really sure how good he is yet. Selection for the England part of this home and away contest is really too soon, but if he performs well early in our next summer the selectors will surely be very tempted to select him for the team, and the Australian public will cheer for him in the same way as we did for Usman Khawaja on his debut.

  • SettingSun on May 30, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Australia just haven't got an original idea of their own these days. How sad.

  • on May 30, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    The best spinner in Australia is Steve O'Keefe but he has upset those in high places as he thinks for himself and is willing to speak his mind. The best leg-spinner in Australia is Adam Zampa who needs time to gain experience and confidence. Another two from the unending run of NSW stars....

  • on May 30, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    Guys, don't take my comments as I am supporting a Pakistani born player as being a Pakistani... but I think CA selectors seeing the point of English Batmen's ability to play spinners specially leggies ... You can see Warnie, Mushie performances on english soil .. they were unplayable ... I can see only this reason to bring him in rush ..

  • AKS286 on May 30, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    I think its a very quick decision. Now i think this proves that CA & Australian fans don't have trust on lyon. even they tried very hard for years to convince that lyon is a next one. spin is a big headache for Aus. they should learn from SA. They believe in AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE (Steyn, Morkel, Phil, De Lange) SA don't have quality spinner but that is not any headache and they don't do silly things and selection. Changed the law OMG how much panic they are.

  • GeoffreysMother on May 30, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Hold the squad announcement, there is flight from S.Africa due with three men on it under 30.

  • Tigg on May 30, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    This is amazing. Aussies desperate to fast-track a 31 year old leggie who has played 13 FC matches and takes his wickets at over 32,

    Smooth.

  • Big-Dog on May 30, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    To rush this guy in would be a mistake. He has had moderate success against some mediocre state batsmen but is untested otherwise.

  • Haleos on May 30, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Wow...13 first class matches with 39 wickets(that too in 8 years) tells a lot about a player. and CA is going GaGa over such a guy..There are lot of good spinners available....ones who did well in India. This one is ordinary...he will turn out just like overrated Imran tahir for SA. Just because he is from Asia does not make him a great spinner or even a good one.

  • on May 30, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    Make it happen. Who else are they going to pick? Other than SOK they are all terrible first class spinners, all of them, including Lyon.

    He can't do any worse. It would be more sensible just to pick SoK you would think though.

    Agar maybe once he isn't a teenager and you know... a teenager?

  • jmcilhinney on May 30, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    OK, just read Ahmed's profile (probably should have done that first) and see that what I had read previously may not have been correct, unless he was perhaps coaching women to play cricket.

  • jmcilhinney on May 30, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    It does seem a little odd that CA appear to be going to such lengths to get a foreign-born spinner who is relatively untested into the team for a series in England of all places. If it was a subcontinent tour then maybe but England? Just as Adam Gilchrist seems to have bamboozled selectors around the world into thinking that wicketkeepers have to average 45 with a strike rate of 80, Shane Warne seems to have bamboozled CA into believing that they have to have a spinner taking 10 wickets every match. Australia's spin stocks aren't great at the moment but they are not so non-existent that they have to recruit from overseas. While he may not be a world-beater either, it's hard to see why CA haven't tried O'Keefe if they don't think Lyon is good enough. I agree with those who say that he should be perhaps play with the A side in England and maybe move into the senior side for the return series in Australia, where a leggie is more likely to be effective anyway.

  • Mitty2 on May 30, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    Oh and everybody refer to @Lyndon mcpaul's comment... Completely correct.

  • Mitty2 on May 30, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    I know the likes of FFL and others will mark this as reflection of the 'bare cupboard' but it's just not true... What more could Steve o'keefe do to prove that he is the best spinner in Australia? Nathan Lyon would average under 30 if wade wasn't his keeper so he's not bad but seriously... Lyon averages above 40 in first class, whereas o'keefe averages 26 on wickets that barely allow spinners to be selected. I've gone on too many rants about no SOK which would also include his batting, fielding and his obvious leadership... But it's all so painstakingly obvious. For inverarity to virtually (and desperately) put in a request for the government to fast track ahmed's citizenship despite having a very very good spinner in o'keefe prospering in the shield is unbelievable. How are me and randyOz meant to denigrate England for their 'united XI' now?

    Oh well, I've gotten the negativity out, now I'll focus on the single positive. Ahmed bowls like tahir... Great!!!

  • on May 30, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    This is another article extremely heavy in speculation that almost seems to be trollbait. 31yo with 32 average after 13 FC matches. I don't think anyone would currently prefer him over Lyon or O'Keefe. Ahmed needs more time on the domestic scene to have any hope of being in the test squad, and then with a fantastic season or so then let's see what happens.

  • jmcilhinney on May 30, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    I don't know all, or even that much, about Ahmed's circumstances but I have read his being quoted as saying that he had to leave Pakistan because he was persecuted for playing and coaching cricket. Seriously? Religious or political persecution I can imagine but sporting persecution? For playing cricket in Pakistan? As far as I can tell, cricket is a popular and respected sport in Pakistan, so why would this one individual be persecuted over it to the point that he had to actually leave the country?

  • YorkshirePudding on May 30, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    it seems that CA are grasping at straws a bit here rather than showing faith in existing players. it also appears they are desperately searching for the next Shane Warne, rather than trusting Lyon, Its also fair to say Hauritz was badly treat after 2009 where he was on Par with Swann and would have played a major part at the Oval if the selectors had picked him.

    As an England fan if we rewind to the mid/late 90's we see the same kind of knee jerk reactions when the search was on for the next 'Botham' or the next Gooch/Gatting/Willis, and rather than putting faith in existing players the team was chopped and changed far too much, leading to instability.

  • elbumo on May 30, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    The ashes are so important to the government that they will fast track immigration for elite sportspersons however no one seems to care about the lives of "ordinary" asylum seekers trying to seek refuge in this country

  • somethingdifferent on May 30, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    CA do need a good spinner. it is clear now that Lyon is not international level and is in the squad because of lack of options. Not that I think Fawad would be any better. He was ordinary in Pakistan FC and his 16 wickets in 3 shield matches could be because of the inability of australian batsmen to handle spin, so this should not be the sole yardstick for his selection. Every one except the selectors seems to be talking about O'Keefe wonder what could be the reason for ignoring him? Do the selectors see something missing n his bowling which we are unable to see or they just donot like him.

  • Ducky610 on May 30, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    @Wefinishthis You ar spot on! SOK has got the result s shield level in every area of first class cricket and the selectors still refuse to pick him... It's Brad Hodge all over again.. Picking Chris Rogers was a step in the right direction from selectors but if they are going to turn the team around I would hope that consistent paers like O'keefe and in my opionion Mark Cosgrove get a look in over consistently average players like "2-75" Lyon and "30 off 150 balls" Cowan...

  • sherishahmir on May 30, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    All the best to Ahmed for his career with cricket Australia. Hopefully he will live up to the expectations of fans and the gap of quality leg break bowler in Australian team created after the departure of Swarne and SMacgill will be covered for a while.

  • Wefinishthis on May 30, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Why do we care? He's several years older and not as good at bowling, batting, fielding OR leading in tests as Steve O'Keefe. We were all saying before both the England and India series that Beer and Doherty were a mistake and that O'Keefe should have been picked. Could the selectors honestly say that O'Keefe could have done any worse than either of those? I highly doubt it. Which proves the point that SOK needed to be in the team years ago. Unfortunately he will never play for Australia and the selectors will remain as clueless as ever, picking ODI bowlers who are the worst test spinners (Beer, Doherty, Ahmed, Maxwell) and neglecting the best test potential we have (O'Keefe, Zampa and Agar). If I was SOK, I'd be applying for South African or NZ citizenship.

  • smokem on May 30, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    Some background info... Citizenship fast tracking is already in place for olympic sports and tennis to name a few. I'm sure many other countries have similar policies in place. All this does is bringing cricket in line with those sports. But yes, Fawad Ahmed is probably the most likely to benefit first if it does get passed.

  • Meety on May 30, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    I would be really happy for Fawad to a) gain citezenship then b) get a Baggy Green. However, as I've said before with only 3 Shield games, he is really untested. It would be another kick in the teeth for SO'K, & I wonder whether a young talent like Agar would be bemused by this? If it were up to me - he would not have a chance of playing in the English leg of the Ashes, I would consider giving an A-tour spot in England. I would ask that Victoria select him in the opening rounds of the Shield (rain, hail or shine - meaning regardless of whether it is a Green Top) & then compare whether he is performing better than the spinners who are waiting in the wings (i.e Agar, Holland, Hauritz, SO'K, Boyce). I think its pretty safe to say in FC terms, he is ahead of Beer, Doherty & Maxwell. We should have a better pre-season this year as there is no delayed Champ League (last year was delayed for the 20/20 W/cup) - so we should have plenty of fixtures!

  • PYC1959 on May 30, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    Seriously CA do you really think this one guy is going to be the savior of Australian cricket? How about having faith in who has been selected, stop putting so much pressure on certain players that they start worrying about their spot in the team and stop worrying about the opposition. Leave Lyon in let him develop, tell him he is the spinner for the series, give him the confidence without fear of failure. Stop looking for the next Warne, it will not happen like this. Warne did not come in the team and suddenly start taking bags of wickets, he was good because his captain and selectors backed him and told him to just go out there and bowl.

  • on May 30, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    I do hope Australia's national interest will be considered with these amendments above and beyond any short term gains for for Australia's favourite sporting team. Cricket at the end of the day is just a game but our immigration requirements are there to protect interests of the nation as a whole. It would also be unfair to make a double standard and give preferential treatment to certain individuals whilst others are made to wait. This whole excercise reeks of desperation by CA who would love to be able to neutralize England's advantage in the spin department but whose to say anyway's after a promising start in a few first class games whether is anywhere near as good as what he is hyped to be. Honestly I would feel more comfortable if our immigration laws were left the way they are or even tightened and Australia lose the Ashes as a result rather than our Immigration system and protocols be undermined purely for a national ego trip!

  • trav29 on May 30, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    haven't seen him so obviously could be very wrong here but it seems a tad optimistic to be holding out such hope for a guy who has only ever played 13 FC games despite being 31 years old , how well did Imran tahir work out for south Africa ?

    despite all the incessant digs aimed at England over the years for the south African contingent , at least we have never stooped as low as fast tracking a passport to get someone in the team , and a certain poster keeps going on about how bare the talent cupboard is in England ...

  • on May 30, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    This is called " cricket of Australia"............................... Well done

  • on May 30, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    This is called " cricket of Australia"............................... Well done

  • trav29 on May 30, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    haven't seen him so obviously could be very wrong here but it seems a tad optimistic to be holding out such hope for a guy who has only ever played 13 FC games despite being 31 years old , how well did Imran tahir work out for south Africa ?

    despite all the incessant digs aimed at England over the years for the south African contingent , at least we have never stooped as low as fast tracking a passport to get someone in the team , and a certain poster keeps going on about how bare the talent cupboard is in England ...

  • on May 30, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    I do hope Australia's national interest will be considered with these amendments above and beyond any short term gains for for Australia's favourite sporting team. Cricket at the end of the day is just a game but our immigration requirements are there to protect interests of the nation as a whole. It would also be unfair to make a double standard and give preferential treatment to certain individuals whilst others are made to wait. This whole excercise reeks of desperation by CA who would love to be able to neutralize England's advantage in the spin department but whose to say anyway's after a promising start in a few first class games whether is anywhere near as good as what he is hyped to be. Honestly I would feel more comfortable if our immigration laws were left the way they are or even tightened and Australia lose the Ashes as a result rather than our Immigration system and protocols be undermined purely for a national ego trip!

  • PYC1959 on May 30, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    Seriously CA do you really think this one guy is going to be the savior of Australian cricket? How about having faith in who has been selected, stop putting so much pressure on certain players that they start worrying about their spot in the team and stop worrying about the opposition. Leave Lyon in let him develop, tell him he is the spinner for the series, give him the confidence without fear of failure. Stop looking for the next Warne, it will not happen like this. Warne did not come in the team and suddenly start taking bags of wickets, he was good because his captain and selectors backed him and told him to just go out there and bowl.

  • Meety on May 30, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    I would be really happy for Fawad to a) gain citezenship then b) get a Baggy Green. However, as I've said before with only 3 Shield games, he is really untested. It would be another kick in the teeth for SO'K, & I wonder whether a young talent like Agar would be bemused by this? If it were up to me - he would not have a chance of playing in the English leg of the Ashes, I would consider giving an A-tour spot in England. I would ask that Victoria select him in the opening rounds of the Shield (rain, hail or shine - meaning regardless of whether it is a Green Top) & then compare whether he is performing better than the spinners who are waiting in the wings (i.e Agar, Holland, Hauritz, SO'K, Boyce). I think its pretty safe to say in FC terms, he is ahead of Beer, Doherty & Maxwell. We should have a better pre-season this year as there is no delayed Champ League (last year was delayed for the 20/20 W/cup) - so we should have plenty of fixtures!

  • smokem on May 30, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    Some background info... Citizenship fast tracking is already in place for olympic sports and tennis to name a few. I'm sure many other countries have similar policies in place. All this does is bringing cricket in line with those sports. But yes, Fawad Ahmed is probably the most likely to benefit first if it does get passed.

  • Wefinishthis on May 30, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Why do we care? He's several years older and not as good at bowling, batting, fielding OR leading in tests as Steve O'Keefe. We were all saying before both the England and India series that Beer and Doherty were a mistake and that O'Keefe should have been picked. Could the selectors honestly say that O'Keefe could have done any worse than either of those? I highly doubt it. Which proves the point that SOK needed to be in the team years ago. Unfortunately he will never play for Australia and the selectors will remain as clueless as ever, picking ODI bowlers who are the worst test spinners (Beer, Doherty, Ahmed, Maxwell) and neglecting the best test potential we have (O'Keefe, Zampa and Agar). If I was SOK, I'd be applying for South African or NZ citizenship.

  • sherishahmir on May 30, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    All the best to Ahmed for his career with cricket Australia. Hopefully he will live up to the expectations of fans and the gap of quality leg break bowler in Australian team created after the departure of Swarne and SMacgill will be covered for a while.

  • Ducky610 on May 30, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    @Wefinishthis You ar spot on! SOK has got the result s shield level in every area of first class cricket and the selectors still refuse to pick him... It's Brad Hodge all over again.. Picking Chris Rogers was a step in the right direction from selectors but if they are going to turn the team around I would hope that consistent paers like O'keefe and in my opionion Mark Cosgrove get a look in over consistently average players like "2-75" Lyon and "30 off 150 balls" Cowan...

  • somethingdifferent on May 30, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    CA do need a good spinner. it is clear now that Lyon is not international level and is in the squad because of lack of options. Not that I think Fawad would be any better. He was ordinary in Pakistan FC and his 16 wickets in 3 shield matches could be because of the inability of australian batsmen to handle spin, so this should not be the sole yardstick for his selection. Every one except the selectors seems to be talking about O'Keefe wonder what could be the reason for ignoring him? Do the selectors see something missing n his bowling which we are unable to see or they just donot like him.