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Fawad Ahmed's presence in the headlines, having so far been a feel-good tale of success and survival, had taken a sour turn when his decision to appear for Australia sans their sponsor, Victoria Bitter's logo, on his uniform has invited criticism from from former sportspeople. Cricket Australia made their support for Fawad amply clear and Sharda Ugra writing in the Australia India Institute explores Australian cricket's migration from the supposed 'pale, male, stale' stereotype.
It is understood that the contract between Cricket Australia and Carlton & United Breweries, owners of VB, contained an opt-out clause about wearing the alcohol sponsor's logo because of a player's religious belief. Fawad's Australian team shirt was not an after-thought that had led to the logo being ripped off or covered with black tape minutes before he went on to the field. It is part of a larger, constantly evolving picture
Fawad's swift rise raises a point which is applicable to several international athletes. It asks how much, and what playing for a country, any country, means in the modern day, writes Osman Samiuddin in the National. Fawad's story is not very different from Kevin Pietersen's, in that it just places notions of individual progress and excellence above collective pride.
Does not the pride and honour of individual achievement naturally supersede that of representing a country? That is, it must feel great to be acknowledged as one of the top individual athletes in the country, more so than the feeling of pride that comes with representing your country. In other words, the identity of the country an athlete represents - or any attachment to it - may not be as important to the athlete as the desire to be among the best at whatever discipline the athlete has chosen and be recognised as such by being selected to represent their country.