The Investec Ashes 2013 June 6, 2013

Fawad Ahmed rushed into Australia A squad

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The legspinner Fawad Ahmed appears likely to join Australia's Ashes campaign after being rushed into the Australia A squad for the remainder of its tour of England and Ireland. On Wednesday night, legislation was passed by the parliament's House of Representatives which cleared the way for Ahmed's Australian citizenship to be fast-tracked and although the bill must still be approved by the Senate, that appears to be a formality.

That should mean Ahmed can obtain an Australian passport well in advance of the first Ashes Test, which starts at Trent Bridge on July 10. The Australia A matches against Ireland from June 14 to 17 and Gloucestershire from June 21 to 23 now loom as a genuine Ashes audition for Ahmed, who will join the incumbent Test spinner Nathan Lyon and the promising young left-armer Ashton Agar as the slow bowlers in the Australia A outfit.

"It is a dream come true, after a long struggle and being through a really tough time," Ahmed said in Melbourne on Thursday. "I am very happy now and it is a great opportunity for me to prove myself at that level ... It's an opportunity for me to give something to this country because this nation has given me a lot. They loved me, give me an honour and give me respect. This is now the time that I can give back to them and serve my nation."

The selectors had originally planned to send Ahmed on the Australia A tour of South Africa in July but that was when they thought he would be ineligible for a national call-up until the final Ashes Test. The expected passing of the parliamentary bill, which eases the residency requirements for certain individuals in exceptional circumstances where their becoming a citizen could benefit Australia, has encouraged the selectors to give Ahmed some time in England ahead of the Ashes.

Under the ICC's player eligibility criteria, Ahmed would be unavailable for Australian selection until August 18 unless granted a passport before then. The criteria do not apply to A-teams. When Australia's selectors named their Ashes squad in April they chose 16 players and left one further space unfilled, which at the time was seen as an indication that Ahmed would come under consideration if he became eligible.

"We are pleased to be able to provide emerging cricketers with an opportunity to show their abilities," John Inverarity, the national selector, said. "Fawad is a spin bowler of interest and we look forward to seeing how he performs for Australia A."

Ahmed, 31, played ten first-class matches in Pakistan before fleeing to Australia in 2010 as an asylum seeker, saying his life had been threatened in Pakistan. Initially his claim was rejected but after Cricket Australia weighed in to support him, Ahmed was granted permanent residency last year and subsequently made his Melbourne Renegades debut in the Big Bash League and earned a call-up to the Victoria state side in February.

"It's just like a dream with open eyes, because I never expected something like this to happen after three and a half years," Ahmed said of progressing to Australia A selection. "There was a question on my life [in Pakistan], there were people raising their fingers on my life, so I was just surviving. I just came here for a better life, and I was just thinking to survive here and be like other people who came here as immigrants. This is something amazing, it is like a dream. Even I couldn't imagine this. This is something unbelievable for me."

In three Sheffield Shield matches towards the end of the summer, Ahmed collected 16 wickets at 28.37 and impressed his state captain Cameron White so much that White declared Ahmed "one of the better legspinners - if not the best - I've seen in first-class cricket outside [Stuart] MacGill and [Shane] Warne."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Biggus on June 6, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Whilst I have no issue with him playing in the Aus A side I still have grave reservations with him being rushed into the Ashes team at such short notice. If he is indeed rushed into the Ashes and does well I guess it will look like an inspired move but if he doesn't he'll always be known as that guy that we parachuted into the squad who got hammered. Having seen some footage of him bowling he does seem to have a bit going for him, but being thrown into the Ashes squad in what would appear to be an unseemly rush as some sort of Ashes saviour puts unnecessary pressure on him and will have some others scratching their heads wondering what they have to do to be selected. I have nothing but good wishes for Ahmed regarding his new life here in Australia and potential selection in the national team but I'm just not sure these panic moves are the best for us or Ahmed himself. Nevertheless if he is rushed into the Ashes and runs amok I'd be more than happy to eat my words. Time will tell.

  • spongebat_squarestumps on June 11, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    In a side full of batsmen who cannot score runs - can he bat...?

  • YorkshirePudding on June 11, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    I've heard a lot of mention about O'keefe even when I was in Aus for the last ashes he was being mentioned as one to watch by some Aussie supporters/commentators.

    Looking at his stats it does beg the question 'what has he done to offend the selectors', as any spinner with an average of 26, and sr 63 in Aus conditions should be among those being considered especially when looked at in comparrison to the imcumbant spinner (Lyon).

  • TeamRocker on June 11, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    The title of the article pretty much tells the story. He's been "rushed" into the squad. Not only does it discourage other promising Aussie bowlers (Steve O'Keefe!), but he's already 31 and there's no guarantee that he has a long future for Australia. I do applaud the fact that he's finally getting a well-deserved chance to play cricket at a higher level, but both Agar and O'Keefe look like better candidates to me (Agar really proved his worth against Scotland, and O'Keefe...well, don't get me started. They both also have good records with the bat, unlike Ahmed.

    That said, I'll be more than happy if he can prove me wrong.

  • AKS286 on June 10, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    Younis Khan can stable middle order, Gambhir will solve opening problem, Mendis/Price solve spin problem, P.Jayawardene will solve WK problem.

  • tp565 on June 10, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    As a young lad growing up in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, it was always a dream for Fawad... that some day... he'd be wearing the Baggy Green. ;)

  • oze13 on June 9, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    Desperate. He'll need to bat as well!

  • mzm149 on June 9, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    Pakistan should also import some quality batsmen from other nations as there is dearth in our country.

  • AKS286 on June 9, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    @ Tomas Anderson on (June 9, 2013, 2:58 GMT) Aus will not loose 3-1. Eng will beat Aus 3-1 (As per your thinking.). WHITEWASH - stain free, with lots of excuses for loss.

  • on June 9, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    Prediction: Australia will loose the Ashes 3-1.

  • Biggus on June 6, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Whilst I have no issue with him playing in the Aus A side I still have grave reservations with him being rushed into the Ashes team at such short notice. If he is indeed rushed into the Ashes and does well I guess it will look like an inspired move but if he doesn't he'll always be known as that guy that we parachuted into the squad who got hammered. Having seen some footage of him bowling he does seem to have a bit going for him, but being thrown into the Ashes squad in what would appear to be an unseemly rush as some sort of Ashes saviour puts unnecessary pressure on him and will have some others scratching their heads wondering what they have to do to be selected. I have nothing but good wishes for Ahmed regarding his new life here in Australia and potential selection in the national team but I'm just not sure these panic moves are the best for us or Ahmed himself. Nevertheless if he is rushed into the Ashes and runs amok I'd be more than happy to eat my words. Time will tell.

  • spongebat_squarestumps on June 11, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    In a side full of batsmen who cannot score runs - can he bat...?

  • YorkshirePudding on June 11, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    I've heard a lot of mention about O'keefe even when I was in Aus for the last ashes he was being mentioned as one to watch by some Aussie supporters/commentators.

    Looking at his stats it does beg the question 'what has he done to offend the selectors', as any spinner with an average of 26, and sr 63 in Aus conditions should be among those being considered especially when looked at in comparrison to the imcumbant spinner (Lyon).

  • TeamRocker on June 11, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    The title of the article pretty much tells the story. He's been "rushed" into the squad. Not only does it discourage other promising Aussie bowlers (Steve O'Keefe!), but he's already 31 and there's no guarantee that he has a long future for Australia. I do applaud the fact that he's finally getting a well-deserved chance to play cricket at a higher level, but both Agar and O'Keefe look like better candidates to me (Agar really proved his worth against Scotland, and O'Keefe...well, don't get me started. They both also have good records with the bat, unlike Ahmed.

    That said, I'll be more than happy if he can prove me wrong.

  • AKS286 on June 10, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    Younis Khan can stable middle order, Gambhir will solve opening problem, Mendis/Price solve spin problem, P.Jayawardene will solve WK problem.

  • tp565 on June 10, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    As a young lad growing up in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, it was always a dream for Fawad... that some day... he'd be wearing the Baggy Green. ;)

  • oze13 on June 9, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    Desperate. He'll need to bat as well!

  • mzm149 on June 9, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    Pakistan should also import some quality batsmen from other nations as there is dearth in our country.

  • AKS286 on June 9, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    @ Tomas Anderson on (June 9, 2013, 2:58 GMT) Aus will not loose 3-1. Eng will beat Aus 3-1 (As per your thinking.). WHITEWASH - stain free, with lots of excuses for loss.

  • on June 9, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    Prediction: Australia will loose the Ashes 3-1.

  • Sprojy on June 8, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    SOK is at home mystified.

  • on June 8, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    It is surprising that he is so able that Australian has changed their law for him and we have not heard even his name in Pakistan. Also the Australian have no other choice other than Ahmad ,What a pity .I wish, he may take place of Warne or Macgill but I am just surprised.I want to register my SURPRISE only.

  • Yes.Valkyries on June 8, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    What about Ray Price ? good choice for Australia. Better than pathetic names mentioned by WefinishThis. Can law should be change like this "Citizenship only for a series"- Possible & better go for it!

  • Wefinishthis on June 8, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    Let's see. The order of the best available red-ball spinners in Australia: O'Keefe, Lyon, Ahmed, Hauritz, Beer, Doherty, Krejza. Give Zampa and Agar another season in shield and we'll see where they will slot into that list. Does anyone disagree with this?

  • AKS286 on June 7, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    It is really very difficult for ENG to break the partnership between Siddle & cowan if he bats on no.9. guess what Lyon as an opener. Solid. well dine Front Foot Lunge.

  • reddawn1975 on June 7, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    This is just plain and simple crazy the guy regardless of where he is from or if he is Australian ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he's maybe a grade cricketer

  • on June 7, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    I don't know why you guys are jealous of Ahmed? if selectors and many aust cricketers behind his selection its mean he have some thing special so wait and see if he did not deliver he wouldn't stay in team, personally i think he deserve a chance .....

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 7, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    @DylanBrah: Good idea. Cowan bats at 9, where he belongs, and gets the job of spinner. That's one void filled to standard. With Hughes as captain Australia will be right back on track and should be able to compete with the top eight in no time.

  • DylanBrah on June 7, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    I heard Ed Cowan can bowl a few leggies.

  • Big-Dog on June 7, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    He has'nt earned his place. Send him back to grade cricket.

  • on June 7, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    talk about putting all the weight of expectation as the saviour of the side. cause all this mad dash back and forth from all parts is suggesting exactly that.

    stuff like this can just as easily mess up a career of someone

    oh well lets see

  • Buckers97 on June 7, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    1. Ed Cowan 2. Shane Watson 3. Phill Hughes 4. Chris Rogers 5. Michael Clarke (c) 6. David Warner 7. Brad Haddin (wk, vc) 8. Steve O'keefe 9.Mitchell Starc 10. Ryan Harris 11. James Pattinson.

  • Hammond on June 7, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    @andrew-schulz- no the requirements are patently not the same, hence Ahmed may be playing in the ashes in a couple of weeks, he doesn't have Australian citizenship and has only been in my country for 4 years. In order to play for England, you must be a citizen of the United Kingdom, and have completed a 7 year qualification period playing in the UK. I would say this is more "stringent" than Fawad waltzing into the Australian test team after playing one season of Shield cricket, and not even being a citizen of my country. My point is any kind of stance Australians had on this issue has been washed away with the rush to get a spinner of any quality (and from any country) into the test side.

  • on June 7, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    I'm all for it. You guys have been complaining about Australia's spin bowling void and now we have someone with a bit of something about them and you continue to complain? I hope Ahmed gets to play for Australia, it's a fantastic story. In saying that he will be judged on his performances just like any other Aussie cricketer and that's how it should be. Good luck to the team in the Ashes. I have dire concerns about Arthur and Clarke and their inflexible textbook approach but I hope we see a great contest because Test cricket is still the only cricket I watch.

  • Jayzuz on June 7, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    This is another in the long line of insane, Hail Mary selections that Inverarity and co have conjured up in the last year or so. I really think these guys are even worse than Hilditch's selection mob. You can't rush a guy into the team who has played only 13 first class game and averages 32, when you have a guy who is three years younger, has played for years and averages 26 (O'keefe) sitting around in Australia (O'Keefe also averages 30 with the bat, which makes it even more bizarre). They are really setting themselves up for a huge fall here. This guy just doesn't have the experience to be in the (A) side. So, what will happen if he is a huge flop? Given the absurdity of the Maxwell and Doherty selections in India, the only option must be resignation of the selection panel and coach, because it is mind-boggling incompetence which simply cannot be tolerated in a great institution like the AUS cricket team. If this was the local darts team, players would be brawling with each other.

  • V-Man_ on June 7, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    Are you serious!!! Is Australia that desperate to win or Australia no longer has a spinner!!!! I don't have any problem with Fawad playing for Australia IF he truly deserves a spot in the team. Any one remember the time when there were no free passes for any players. Everyone had to earn their spot. Those golden times. A really sad day for aus cricket. some one please tell me how has Fawad earned his spot for the ashes or for Australia A!!! I really feel for Stephen O'Keefe.

  • TSJ07 on June 7, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    @ Yes.Valkyries on (June 6, 2013, 5:01 GMT) ------ You are funny mate but spot on.Australia needs good batter and spinners. Few names I like to add to your list-- Piyush Chawla, Danish Kaneria etc.

  • Greatest_Game on June 7, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    @ David Simkins wrote "Er, KP has an English mother. He is therefore half English.."

    My great-great grandfather was Scots, & my grandmother, who never left South Africa, had a Brit passport. My mother once traveled to Europe, but not on a Brit passport, as she never applied for one, but I would qualify for Brit citizenship if she had applied. I, however, did live & work in the UK. My employers wanted my skills - my passport did not bother them.

    I became a US citizen when, after 5 years residency, I filed the application. I still retain my SA citizenship, & if I had a Brit passport too, my grandchildren could play cricket for the USA, Eng, SA, & Scotland because one of their parent's STEP-fathers met the citizenship criteria. My wife's family background would in turn allow them to play for Israel Ukraine, Poland & Germany!

    Citizenship is a document. Nationality is chosen. If they meet the legal standards, let all play wherever they choose. We are but human, and it is only a game

  • The_bowlers_Holding on June 7, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Why do posters keep referring to KP- his mother is English, he shouldn't have had to do any qualifying when you consider it he wouldn't if it was his father ie. sexist.

  • andrew-schulz on June 7, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Geoffrey Anthony Pluminmouthridge, mdiggity, and frontfootlunge, the 7 year residential qualification is only one of four criteria which each on their own satisfy the requirements to represent a country at international cricket. It's all there in the appendices to the laws. You each seem to be suggesting that England have some more stringent set of criteria than Australia. This is as dumb as frontfootlunge's assessment of England's standing in world cricket. The requirements are the same across all the full members of the ICC, as any logical person would expect.

  • _Australian_ on June 7, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    @Front-foot-lunge. This lack of turning the ball has only been well documented by you and you alone. In fact over documented. How much Lyon turns the ball is not the reason why he is a below average spinner. He lacks consistency in control and flight plus he does not attack the stumps enough. The turning the ball is not the only trump card of a good spinner. One of Shane Warne best and most deceiving deliveries in his prime was the flipper. A ball that did not turn at all. A. Kumble was not a big turner of the ball but he has 619 test wickets. Also since when has land size mean't you have a greater number to select a cricket side from? There is more than 3 times the population of Australia in just London alone. The reason Australia are fast tracking this guy (which I am fully against) is Englands "well documented" lack of ability to play leg spin well!

  • poms_have_short_memories on June 7, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    @FFL, the ability to spin the ball doesn't define a spinner's greatness, Kumble didn't spin the ball much in comparison to others and he was considered a great. Stuart McGill spun the ball more than Warne and I've yet to hear him described as great. On a pace bowling note, Trent Copeland could well be an asset to the Aussies in the ashes, a decent bat and bowls more maidens than FFL makes stupid comments( I know thats a big call) and he's been taking plenty of wickets with seam movement and unerring accuracy. As I am a realist, I do think 1 or 2 batting collapses will probably cost Australia the ashes though.

  • on June 7, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Hmmm I wonder what nickname Hads will be calling frm behind the stumps.. Fawi, Fawo or Ahmi? Bowl Fawoooo sounds pretty good to me..

  • venbas on June 6, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    Really surprising that the Aussies are bending rules to rush a 31yr old foreign spinner to play the Ashes!!! A spinner with 10 first class match experience in his home country is now fast tracked into the Australian side as if he is the next great find after a 20 something blond legspinning legend bamboozled his way into history in his Ashes debut.

  • Buckers97 on June 6, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    And what about Steve O'keefe huh???? He played all the games, took wickets, kept the run rate down, economical, handy with the bat, can field really well and was a captain and leader of NSW. Why is he not being talked about? In any other country, with those season figures that he has had, he would be a walk in!!! ex.Sri-Lanka & India. So why not pick him as your captain for Aus-A and Aus vice-captain because if he was there he would be bowling well and the only other besides Clarke to have captained the state in 4-day cricket. Our paceman are so good, why worry if O'keefe doen't take wicketrs, he is an allrounder doing everything! Lyon is a full-time spin bowler who can't even take wickets unless in India and even then he struggled! So give O'keefe a go!!!! What more does he have to do? Ahmed is not proven and why give a pakistani a go in the AUS team? He has only played 3 matches where spin isn't supported by conditions. O'keefe has played 70 or more games on no-spin-friendly grounds.

  • on June 6, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    My God - we are acting like England in the 90's.

  • thebarmyarmy on June 6, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    Lets face it he's the best spinner Pakistralia's got!

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on June 6, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    Call me sentimental, but it's such a story that I hope he gets into the Australian team and hope he does well. As an England fan, I don't hope that's well enough to beat us, but I do hope it's well enough to prove that he was worthy of the international sporting career he has been denied up to now.

    He's going to become an Australian citizen at some point because the decision to grant this has been made. So, why not now? It adds another good headline for an Ashes series and cricket needs publicity like this. He cannot be overlooked if good enough because that would be discrimination. I also have something against a qualification period being applied to a refugee because it is something of an extraordinary circumstance.

    If he plays Test cricket for Australia this summer, I'd welcome it. In the same way as I applauded Darren Sammy's Test hundred against us. Because I'd like something good to happen to him.

    Just - not good enough to win the Ashes if possible!

  • Beertjie on June 6, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Really glad for him. Agree entirely @Showbags88 on (June 6, 2013, 3:29 GMT) 4 pacers is the way to go, but wickets in England turn on days 4/5. Will we still be in the game by then, though? If we bat first can we post sufficient runs to make a spinner a viable prospect later? Too many questions to say anything now. Just having him there if he bowls OK on the A tour will do. Could feature in the Oval test and the return series. Take it slowly with the guy.

  • landl47 on June 6, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    Nice one, RandyOZ, a masterpiece of semantics.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on June 6, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    To commentators regarding O'Keefe and reasons why not being picked. Where is this evidence it is his attitude? which players and why leaving nsw because of him? Sounds like your opinion not any tangible facts. Even so, if Clarke is as good a captain as he makes out, he should be able to manage any player picked. O'Keefe seems to have done well by NSW as captain

  • SirViv1973 on June 6, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    CA seem obssessed with a couple of things. they must have a bowling all rounder who can bat in the top 6, ala AF in the 05 ashes and a mystery spinner to replace Shane Warne. In terms of looking for the allrounder they have already invested far too much time in Watson who can be a match winner with bat or ball in limited overs cricket but lacks the mentality to play long inns & has too brittle a body for test cricket. In the attempt to find the new warne it now looks as if they will give Fawad an ashes cap on the strength of 3 games in the shield. I guess they may know something we don't he may prove to be far better than his moderate FC stats suggest. However it is far more likley his doubters will be proved right & he will join the 'Imran Tahir whatever happened to him club' CA also have form in picking novices a certain Pat Cummins springs to mind, who although he bowled well in his only test his body wasn't ready & 18 mts later we are still waiting 4 him to play another FC game!

  • Thefakebook on June 6, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    So it begins...good on you mate

  • SirViv1973 on June 6, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    @ScottStevo, I take it you have had heard of the saying ' People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones' ? I'm pretty astounded that you are having a go at the Eng ODI side after Aus have just been skittled out for 65 by Ind! Yes Eng lost a 3 match odi series to NZL 2 -1 the same scoreline as Eng beat the blackcaps in NZL a few months ago. World rankings mean little in ODI cricket as all 8 major teams have little between them. You should also be careful about sounding off against Eng or NZL as they are Aus next 2 opponnets & both will be licking their lips at the prospect of playing Aus right now.

  • on June 6, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Er, KP has an English mother. He is therefore half English. I am not going to make a huge case for Engish cricket, as our history of accepting players after a qualification period has meant we have had many players of African descent in the team over the years. What has raised people's attention is the sudden change in Australia's immigration stance, which over the years has been much more strict, and now with a few words from CA all changes!!

  • ScottStevo on June 6, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    The reason England have a 7 year qualification period is so that England don't turn out a team with absolutely no English born players in it! Their lack of depth in both batting and bowling departments - especially in ODI formats - was clearly on display when they were trampled on by 8th ranked NZ in their own backyard, only winning a consolation prize after NZ had slaughtered them. Nonetheless, we can still learn from England here as looking at someone like Dernbach, fast tracking these guys into squads isn't a great idea when they're basically unproven, even when you only have your future in the likes of a Woakes. My point being, we mightn't have a great spinner at present, but thats no reason for replacing him with a bloke who hasn't shown he's worthy.

  • RandyOZ on June 6, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    A great reflection of Australia's welcoming attitude and increasing multiculturalism, as well of course, as lack of poaching polcies.

  • Shaggy076 on June 6, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Whilst I have no problem selecting Fawad Ahmed for Australia if he is good enough. Im not sure he is - it was only 3 shield games ago that Victoria picked James Muirhead before him. I do consider Ahmed Australian, he has seeked asylum for his safety and now calls Australia home. Its not like he seeked a new country to play international cricket as many others have done. If he is good enough to merit selection I would welcome him in to the fold. However Im not sure he is going to make that grade.

  • 200ondebut on June 6, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    So what! If he is eligible he is eligible - get over it. We are after all a multicultural world now. I'd be very surprised - and a bit disappointed for those in the Ashes squad - if he was fast tracked into it. It is not as if he is a proven world beater and lets face it test cricket is a long way from the state/county game - ask Imran Tahir another who did remarkably well to get into the SA side but who averages 50 with the ball in tests!

  • on June 6, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Ha ha...SEVEN year qualification period before you can play for England yet KP was only required to play for FOUR years before being called up. Don't criticize Australia for finally doing what England have been doing for decades. I fondly remember a SAF mate of mine saying after England were humiliated by SAF in their last series against each other "It just shows that our South Africans are better than their South Africans"

  • on June 6, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Wow, some people here are commenting as though he has just rocked up in Australia and been handed a baggy green. He hasn't even been picked in the Ashes squad yet for a start. He was granted asylum and permanent residency last year, and has been in Australia for four years. After leaving Pakistan, he has worked his way up from scratch via the VTCA and through premier cricket in Melbourne (and the big bash, of course). PS O'Keefe hasn't been picked apparently because of his poor behaviour (he is rumoured to be the reason several NSW players left in the past few seasons).

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 6, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    The reason England have a SEVEN year qualification period is for good reason. We all know what a terrible desperate state Australian cricket is in. On the subject of spin bowling, much has been documented of Lyon's complete inability to turn the ball and look threatening, which just like the last 5+ years, has been in the starkest, and most famous, contrast to England's champion spinner G. Swann. When it comes to playing England, England have developed into beating Aus just for fun these days, with last year's 2012 whitewash in the ODI's just the latest encounter in 5+ years of English dominance at cricket. But the fast-tracking of Ahmed is nothing more than a cynical attempt to shore up their 3rd-rate squad of players (and the only squad of players) that CA has at their disposal- this in a country that is so large it's also a continent. Ahmed should become a citizen first, and a cricketer later. What a pathetically desperate move from Australia.

  • Slobberdog on June 6, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    That's it CA, continue to ignore the recommendations on reward for performance laid out by the Argus review. I mean if Ashton Agar hadn't received a touch up in the tour match vs India A, there's a good chance he'd have ended up in the Test side with 3 FC matches under his belt. Spin bowling selection by reality TV show should be next: Come In Spinner. If you want to maximise your chances of getting into the Aus team, be a spinner or a bits 'n' pieces all-rounder - or both. Different rules apply.

  • it_happened_last_in_2001. on June 6, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    I heard that Abdul Qadir once spent a week on the gold coast on holidays. Maybe he could bowl in tandem with Fawad from the Radcliffe Road end ?? England have certainly been creative with their selection criteria a few times, but this is creativity of Harry Potter proportions. No one even knows if he's any good, he's unproven in terms of skill and temprament. From what we have seen so far there's one question screaming out above all others ...... Can he bat ???

  • Ramsespd on June 6, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    To all the SOK supporters let me just say, traditionally left arm finger spinners haven't made a fist of it in tests for Australia. Which makes the mind boggle more as to why Doherty got taken to India (I would have chosen SOK ahead of him). That said, I wouldn't be picking any left arm finger spinners anytime soon. And from what I understand, it's more an attitude thing keeping him out than anything else. IF Ahmed does well on the A tour I'd be happy to see him included in the Ashes squad. It's far too soon to be rushing in Agar, Muirhead, Zampa et al. Give the older bloke with some experience a go and let the younger blokes develop and don't play them till they're ready. DON'T repeat the mistakes of the Hilditch era and destroy every young spinner in the country mentally by picking and dropping them straight away. This is all distracting from the REAL issue, the terrible batting of Australia. If Clarke's back goes, the bowlers will be trying to defend less than 100

  • NoBallz on June 6, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    As an Ozzy, I totally agree with the Poms 7 year qualification rule. Nothing personal against Ahmed, but this sort of easy sideways movement between nationalities will cause mayhem. Where will it end? Will test playing nations offer selected talented individuals citizenship to strengthen their national teams? This type of policy also serves to crush the morale of home grown talent, such as O'Keefe. Where is the incentive for the talented youngsters? And while on the subject, why is the coach not considered part of the team? Why do we have a foreigner in charge of our national side? I personally don't care for the "best man for the job" attitude, its a national side, it should be coached by a citizen of this nation. If he is not the best man available, so be it. At least we will have a national side displaying the talent, or lack of, in this country. Not everything is about winning, something Australian players, selectors and the ACB seem to have forgotten.

  • Rampant_Aussie on June 6, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Fawad's only joined the A Squad. They play three A matches before the Ashes, if Ahmed gets smashed in those games he won't get picked in the Ashes squad. I've seen him bowl live and on TV and he looks decent enough. Why not give him a go if he does well. I agree about O'Keefe, but it appears that the selectors aren't moving that way. Besides, in the scheme of things our bowling strength (England's too) is pace. If England want to prepare drier pitches, that's fine by me. Less moisture in the pitch for Anderson and co to help swing the ball. So why place so much emphasis on Swann getting your wickets? He's played 10 games for 27 wickets at an average of 40 and all in winning Ashes campaigns. Spin hasn't been a serious factor in an Ashes since Warne played. So I don't care who we pick to be our spinner, or what Swann does. It's pace and movement that I'll be watching.

  • on June 6, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    @AKS286

    "For the last 2 yrs Oz fans defending & tried their best to convince us that LYON is the best spinner in the history of cricket." LOL WHAT?!?! No one has ever said that Lyon is anything more than an stock offspinner. Some think he should make way for a better spinner while others think he will improve with experience. I think the English are projecting about Swann....

    @ Geoffrey Because maybe fleeing his country as a refugee in fear of his life is exactly like a Saffa deciding on which country he wants to play for?

  • mdiggity on June 6, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge, your spot on mate!

  • AKS286 on June 6, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    OMG just read it from above column "The expected passing of the parliamentary bill, which eases the residency requirements for certain individuals in exceptional circumstances where their becoming a citizen could benefit Australia,"- What are the exceptional circumstances ? Answer Fear from Whitewash, Why fawad is a certain individual? Answer-Australian Spin class is school campus class. What benefit did Aus get if fawad becomes citizen ? Answer- daydreaming that fawad will destroy POMS. Yes good way. YES.VALKYRIES idea is good Gambhir should replace Cowan (benefit of Aus).

  • on June 6, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    Definitely a sign of panic and lack of confidence from the Australian selectors... very good point made previously that the likes of KP had to wait for 7 years before qualifying to play for England.

  • RednWhiteArmy on June 6, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    @Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge 100% correct. I still find it amazing how the aussies' think they are somehow "holier than thou" on this subject. Even O'Keefe was born in Malaysia.

  • on June 6, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    yet another Pakistani, after Usman Khwaja, has joined the Aussies

  • derpherp on June 6, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    What....I don't even...why....O'keefe should have.....even Beer.....but Ahmed.....?

  • on June 6, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    England has a 7 year qualification period for foreign born players before you can play for England. Whatever moral high ground Australia had before on this issue has just been trashed.

  • AKS286 on June 6, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    For the last 2 yrs Oz fans defending & tried their best to convince us that LYON is the best spinner in the history of cricket. But now everybody wants imported fawad to replace lyon why ? (sure only one spinner will play). A man who failed to wear baggy green (Pakistan) now tries in Aus and Australians is ready to change the law of country for just an ASHES fear. This change in law brings mass from whole world in all sports. Pak is having Ajmal(best spinner why debut soo late?) & Rehman both are of age 35 & 32. and we still don't see the future spinner of Pak correct. Why not Fawad is for future Pak simple Sub-Continent spin standard are high. There club spinners are better than Aus international spinners. We love to see Misbah & Hafeez will thrash Fawad's bowling.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 6, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    This situation is just a bit weird. It really looks like the Australian selectors are panicking big time. If you want to instill some confidence in the opposition, whose form has been a bit shaky over the last 18 months, just come over proclaiming loudly that you'll win but using body language that says you would rather be just about anywhere else in the world because you feel that you are in for a terrible beating. It's odder still because most English fans would happily settle for a narrow win: they are confident that the series will be won, but no one outside Australia seems to think that it will be 3-0 or 4-0 to England.

    Maybe the talk of preparing dust bowls in England this summer has been taken seriously?

  • Tigg on June 6, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    First Hauritz, now Lyon. Do the Aussies take a perverse pleasure in undercutting the confidence of their no.1 spinner?

    Steve O'Keefe must be screaming at the TV.

  • Biggus on June 6, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Jack_Flash-As soon as the Queen starts asserting that prerogative via our Governor General Australia will hurtle towards becoming a republic. Regarding your 'English lawyers XI or the Australian lawyers XI' barb it would do you well to recall the 1987 'Spycatcher' case in which the British Government tried to prevent publication of ex MI5 agent Peter Wright's book of the same name in Australia, and during which the British peer Sir Robert Armstrong was forced to concede that he had been, in his own words, "Economical with the truth" (that's lying for we non-peers) to the Australian High Court. I remember it well as my father was the High Court judge who sat on that case, and as somewhat of an Anglophile he was most dismayed at the Crown's attempts to assert itself in Australia by any means, fair or foul. The Queen's position as our head of state is purely honorary and indicative our our close cultural ties, and would not withstand clumsy attempts to assert itself. Silly post Jack.

  • ozwriter on June 6, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    great news for the ozzies. ahmed will add more options and variety to the table.

  • on June 6, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    end of the day it doesnt matter what Australia does, they are going to lose. Might as well throw in the leggy, he does look pretty decent, and I say why not. This IS the worst team I have ever seen Australia put together, and led by a captain the players have zero faith in. Clarke is a bad, bad choice for captain, a tough selfless sort is needed, and Clarke obviously knows that and is trying to toughen his image up and... sending teammates him via homeworkgate and allowing players to snitch on others. As I said, worst team i have ever seen and worst captain by a mile.

  • on June 6, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    I do not understand all this negative reaction. Ahmed is 31 has more first class experience than Lyon (4 games) had before he debuted and is thankfully picked on his firstclass form rather than 2020 form. In an era of continuous poor selections this is one of the most inspired moves by the Autralian thinktank. Pakistan traditionally produce lots of aggressive and beguiling spinners while Australian spinners are usually mediocre, lacking in any creativity whatsoever (Warne and MacGill obviously the exceptions from the last 30 years) I wish him all the best for the Ashes

  • Jack_Flash on June 6, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    England still have the chance to stop this from being allowed to happen.

    From a legal perspective, since Australia is a dominion of the Commonwealth, constitutionally the Queen of England has the ultimate right to approve or disapprove parliamentary legislation.

    Not that it has happened before, but imagine if the England Cricket Board petition the Queen to step in and block the legislation from being approved! Oh my that would be truly great drama, could result in the one of the great legal battles of all time...who do you think would fair better, the English lawyers XI or the Australian lawyers XI?

  • on June 6, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    CA just jumped the shark.

    I am happy for the guy, but seriously? He has played 3 games! 3!!!! In a Sheffield Shield that has to be some of the poorest first class batting in the world right now.

    Averaging 30 will get you a look in for the test team. I know he is older and I know he is a legspinner and I am not even saying he isn't good. I just think this is a crazy move.

    Just pick O'Keefe who is more established and be done with it. I have no idea what he did to not get picked but he should be in that squad.

  • on June 6, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    Anyway australians are gonna lose the Ashes series. It will be better to test out a new face in to international scene. GL

  • sherishahmir on June 6, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Wishing fawad all the best for his cricket career with Australia with the hope that he will live to the expectation to Australians selectors and fans.

  • Yes.Valkyries on June 6, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    My squad for Ashes- Nicol, Gambhir, Younis Khan, Khawaja, Clarke (C), Pathiv Patel, Bernard, Fawad, Sandhu, Jerome Taylor, D.Fernando. 12th man Tendo.

  • Ozcricketwriter on June 6, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    What about Ashton Agar? Has Fawad Ahmed leapfrogged him on the basis of being Pakistani?

  • on June 6, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    So, Australian cricket has now reached a level where they have to get the Australian parliament to pass a legislation in order to be able to play a decent spinner.

  • TATTUs on June 6, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    This is ridiculous. I cant believe that a team like Australia with all its history of professionalism and all that are bringing in a player with no credibility what so ever to play , the ashes of all the series! Man if he was/is that good, why didnt he even make big in any of the Pakistani first class teams?

  • goldeneraaus on June 6, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    his fast forward does smell of panic somewhat, and cannot be good for Lyon's confidence, but really his inclusion will do little to ease what is Australia's main problem: BATTING! Personally I'd prefer lyon, safer option, can defend away while the seamers do the damage, and besides he is quite a good tail ender, lord knows we are gonna need all the lower order contributions we can get!

  • Mitty2 on June 6, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    This reeks of desperation, but the thing is, it's not necessary desperation. Ashton Agar has thoroughly impressed with his composure, calmness, and above all, ability. Steven O'keefe is the best spinner in Australia, with a very very impressive bowling record on unresponsive and almost negating tracks (to the extent of spinners not being selected), in which makes his average of 26 all the more better. Let's not forget that his batting average is almost 30 - something that some pure batsmen struggled to achieve. Oh, and that O'keefe is a pure leader, what more can you want?

    But of course, as we've seen, partial and personal agendas riddle selection. With both Arthur and Clarke - and of course Inverarity - the selection panel is worse than that of when it was run by the infamous Hilditch. Steve O'keefe, I know this is cliche, simply must have done something to offend.

    But despite my negativity, I've seen Ahmed bowl, and I still think he's very good, so it's not all doom and gloom!

  • Meety on June 6, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    Really happy for Ahmed. Still feel this is too much of a rush though!

  • Showbags88 on June 6, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    If we think this guy is going to be some sort of miracle worker for the Ashes then that is just crazy. I'd play him over Lyon simply for the fact that England have 8 right handers in their team and Ahmed will spin the ball away from the bat but he is no superstar.

    I've seen him bowl some junk spells in FC Cricket here in Aus and I've seen him bowl some good spells as well. Might be worth the risk as I think the Poms won't have seen much of him and they won't exactly be waking up at night in cold sweats at the prospect of Lyon.

    If the pitch isn't offering anything to the spinners though I'd play four frontline seamers. Has worked for us on occasions in the past against England and could work again.

  • KingofRedLions on June 6, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    Why does this make him "likely" to join the Ashes squad?

  • boehj on June 6, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    No pressure or anything though mate!

  • bobagorof on June 6, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Cameron White's comments merely suggest that there hasn't been a strong legspinner at first-class level in Australia in a while - borne out by the fact that White himself was selected as a specialist legspinner for Australia several years ago. However, if Fawad Ahmed is selected for the Ashes then I hope, as I do for all the players, he makes the most of his opportunities and can contribute to an Australian win. I just won't be expecting him to be the saviour that he seems to be touted as.

  • DubDub on June 6, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    Come on now, he's not even at Tahir's level...Desperate move by the ACB.

  • on June 6, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    So he's played 13 first class matches ever? Average higher than Stephen O'Keefe anyway?

    I assume there's some justification for the hype, but I'm not sure if he's so great that his citizenship being passed through on the basis that he would so greatly benefit Australia is justified.

  • on June 6, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    His first class record is pretty medicore, I don't know why Aussies are getting so much excited with this chap, remember Imran Tahir had a similar sort of story, SA included him ahead of their main stream spinners, and then we all saw what happened! Nevertheless, best of luck for future, lad!

  • on June 6, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    His first class record is pretty medicore, I don't know why Aussies are getting so much excited with this chap, remember Imran Tahir had a similar sort of story, SA included him ahead of their main stream spinners, and then we all saw what happened! Nevertheless, best of luck for future, lad!

  • on June 6, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    So he's played 13 first class matches ever? Average higher than Stephen O'Keefe anyway?

    I assume there's some justification for the hype, but I'm not sure if he's so great that his citizenship being passed through on the basis that he would so greatly benefit Australia is justified.

  • DubDub on June 6, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    Come on now, he's not even at Tahir's level...Desperate move by the ACB.

  • bobagorof on June 6, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Cameron White's comments merely suggest that there hasn't been a strong legspinner at first-class level in Australia in a while - borne out by the fact that White himself was selected as a specialist legspinner for Australia several years ago. However, if Fawad Ahmed is selected for the Ashes then I hope, as I do for all the players, he makes the most of his opportunities and can contribute to an Australian win. I just won't be expecting him to be the saviour that he seems to be touted as.

  • boehj on June 6, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    No pressure or anything though mate!

  • KingofRedLions on June 6, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    Why does this make him "likely" to join the Ashes squad?

  • Showbags88 on June 6, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    If we think this guy is going to be some sort of miracle worker for the Ashes then that is just crazy. I'd play him over Lyon simply for the fact that England have 8 right handers in their team and Ahmed will spin the ball away from the bat but he is no superstar.

    I've seen him bowl some junk spells in FC Cricket here in Aus and I've seen him bowl some good spells as well. Might be worth the risk as I think the Poms won't have seen much of him and they won't exactly be waking up at night in cold sweats at the prospect of Lyon.

    If the pitch isn't offering anything to the spinners though I'd play four frontline seamers. Has worked for us on occasions in the past against England and could work again.

  • Meety on June 6, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    Really happy for Ahmed. Still feel this is too much of a rush though!

  • Mitty2 on June 6, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    This reeks of desperation, but the thing is, it's not necessary desperation. Ashton Agar has thoroughly impressed with his composure, calmness, and above all, ability. Steven O'keefe is the best spinner in Australia, with a very very impressive bowling record on unresponsive and almost negating tracks (to the extent of spinners not being selected), in which makes his average of 26 all the more better. Let's not forget that his batting average is almost 30 - something that some pure batsmen struggled to achieve. Oh, and that O'keefe is a pure leader, what more can you want?

    But of course, as we've seen, partial and personal agendas riddle selection. With both Arthur and Clarke - and of course Inverarity - the selection panel is worse than that of when it was run by the infamous Hilditch. Steve O'keefe, I know this is cliche, simply must have done something to offend.

    But despite my negativity, I've seen Ahmed bowl, and I still think he's very good, so it's not all doom and gloom!

  • goldeneraaus on June 6, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    his fast forward does smell of panic somewhat, and cannot be good for Lyon's confidence, but really his inclusion will do little to ease what is Australia's main problem: BATTING! Personally I'd prefer lyon, safer option, can defend away while the seamers do the damage, and besides he is quite a good tail ender, lord knows we are gonna need all the lower order contributions we can get!