The Australian batsmen are looking to play against Ahmed as much as possible before the start of the Test series on Friday
With their Test series against South Africa scheduled to begin on Friday in Brisbane, Australia are looking for all the help they can get, but no one would have ever believed it if they said that they were using a Pakistani asylum-seeker to assist with their preparation against Proteas leg-spin bowler Imran Tahir.
Fawad Ahmed, who is from a town in Pakistan near the Afghanistan border, came to Australia in 2010 on a short-stay visa to play cricket, but he is still awaiting the government’s decision on whether his bid for asylum has been accepted.
The Australian team will make their batsmen play against Ahmed in the nets due to the similarities he and Tahir share while bowling.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ahmed as saying: “I’m really excited and I think I can bowl well. It’s good for them and it’s good for me, that they have asked me to go there.”
Ahmed himself is very familiar with the way in which Tahir bowls since he has faced him in Pakistan’s domestic league.
“We are the same height, with a high arm action, and we can both bowl a good wrong ‘un, his leg spin is bouncy, and I am like him, so it’s good for the Australian batsmen to practise on my bowling,” Ahmed added.
Australian opener Ed Cowan was pleased to be able to practice against Ahmed before going up against the world number one Test side.
“If you’re looking to prepare for someone who would have been hard to replicate, you may as well get someone who, to the naked eye, seems pretty similar,” Cowan said.
Ahmed noted that he had fled from Pakistan since he had been targeted by Muslim extremists for playing cricket, and added that he had even received death threats from them due to the sport promoting Western values.