Ahmed bill passes Australian Senate
Fawad Ahmed is expected to be eligible for the full Ashes series after the Australian Senate passed a bill that would allow his citizenship to be fast-tracked. The legislation has now passed through both houses of parliament and after it is rubber-stamped by the governor-general Ahmed will be eligible to obtain an Australian passport, which should make him available for the first Ashes Test.
However, although it is likely that Ahmed will be called into the squad it is by no means certain. On Wednesday, he and the 19-year-old left-arm spinner Ashton Agar were named in the Australia A squad to tour Zimbabwe and South Africa in July and August, while the Ashes is being played, and both men will be in contention if another spinner is added to the Ashes touring party.
"We've got a couple of spinners we're mulling over at the moment," the coach Mickey Arthur told the ABC. "We've got Nathan Lyon in the squad. If the weather stays like this we might consider another spinner. There's been no clear-cut decision on that as yet."
Arthur discuss the possible inclusion of another spinner with fellow selectors John Inverarity and Rod Marsh this weekend in Bristol, where Australia A will play against Gloucestershire in the final match of their tour of the British Isles. While it is unclear at this stage whether Ahmed will travel to Africa or remain with the Ashes squad, a Cricket Australia spokesman said the progress of the bill through parliament was encouraging.
"This is pleasing news for CA and a big step forward in a process that will help enable Fawad Ahmed become an Australian citizen," the spokesman said. "Pending royal assent by the governor-general, the Bill will become law and Ahmed will be considered for Australian citizenship, subject to the normal tests and assessments that any citizenship applicant would go through."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here