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      Fawad Ahmed's rise only a positive for Australian Cricket
    Monday, January 28, 2013

    Fawad Ahmed's rise only a positive for Australian Cricket


    Ahmed call-up to the Victorian Sheffield Shield team provides hope for many cricketers from migrant backgrounds  

    Navneet Ganesh


    Fawad Ahmed, the Pakistani born leg spinner has been named in the Victorian Sheffield side and could make his state debut this week. Fawad Ahmed’s rise from playing local cricket to rubbing shoulders and sharing dressing rooms with the nation’s best has been nothing short of phenomenal. Ahmed played for Hoppers Crossing in the VTCA last season, moving on to represent Melbourne University in Premier Cricket this season taking 26 wickets at 16.50 and dominating the competition. Ahmed, a passionate cricketer even found time to play for the Western Warriors in the Infinity T20 Cricket Tournament – the nation’s ‘largest’ open T20 event over the last two years.

    Entering Australia as an asylum seeker, it was not until Fawad Ahmed successfully obtained permanent residency late last year that Cricket Australia seized the opportunity to include him in the Big Bash League.

    Ahmed being granted permanent residency was exactly what the doctor ordered for Australian Cricket. James Sutherland, Cricket Australia’s chief executive spoke about the need to ‘be more inclusive’ at a recent conference and outlined the importance of tapping into ‘multicultural groups’ as part of Cricket Australia’s broad strategy going forward. Fawad Ahmed was born in Pakistan and could be used to ignite hope amongst migrant families that one day their sons or daughters could represent Australia in cricket at the highest level and would be welcomed in doing so. Ahmed is not the only player in recent times to have a non-Anglo background. Usman Khawaja, already a permanent member of the New South Wales side and promising fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu are both realistic prospects of representing Australia in more international matches.

    Fawad’s case is more intriguing. He is a leg-spinner with a classical action, and since the retirement of Shane Warne, Australia has not found a reliable and consistent replacement. Fawad Ahmed last played first class cricket in 2009 for Abbottabad in Pakistan. His first class average of 34.86 is not flattering nor is his economy rate of 4.02 in those matches. His only game for the Melbourne Renegades saw Ahmed hit for 34 runs in four wicket-less overs. However, at 33 years of age Fawad Ahmed does have a tremendous work ethic coupled with years of experience and an appetite for more. It is not easy for any cricketer to make a comeback in another country, let alone one that has experienced so much uncertainty in recent times. With Ahmed’s inclusion in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield side, he has the opportunity to make a mark on Australian Cricket and turn a new leaf.

    Whether he makes his debut for Victoria this season or not, Ahmed will be looked upon as an example for cricketers in Australia coming from migrant backgrounds. Through grit and perseverance – there is hope. The great game of cricket is what brings us together, irrespective of our ethnicity, religion or background.

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    Fawad Ahmed participated in the Infinity T20 Cricket Tournament representing two-time champions Western Warriors. In 2012, Ahmed won the tournament’s Best Bowler Award. Navneet Ganesh, a cricket enthusiast is the founder of Infinity Cricket. The Infinity T20 Cricket Tournament is currently an annual event taking place in the summer months of January-March and attracts participants from across metropolitan Melbourne as well as some regional areas. The 2013 tournament features 29 teams and over 350 participants making it the largest ‘open’ T20 event in the nation.


    Infinity Cricket
    ‘Connecting people through Cricket’

    For more information, visit: www.infinityt20cricket.com. Infinity Cricket also has a presence on Facebook: www.facebook.com/infinitycricket and Twitter: www.twitter.com/infinitycricket

     
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