Image courtesy of: CNN IBN
Ahmed’s chances of representing Australia have drastically increased
Pakistani-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed’s “long journey” to becoming an Australian citizen has finally come to an end after the former federal immigration minister Brendan O’Connor informed him of the good news.
Ahmed described it as a “dream moment” and now that he has been granted Australian citizenship, his chances of representing the national team have skyrocketed to an all-time high.
In one of his final acts before losing his post as federal immigration minister, O’Connor approved Ahmed’s application and all that stands between Ahmed and his Australian passport is an official citizenship ceremony.
“I was able to tell Fawad Ahmed that his application for citizenship has been approved,” O’Connor said. “It was approved late last week … and it was approved because we were able to look at the application in a different light because of the changes to the Australian citizenship act that went through the parliament not long ago.”
The “changes” O’Connor mentioned apply to the fact that individuals could get their applications fast-tracked if they are deemed to be a an asset in the fields of sport, science, medicine and the performing arts.
“It’s a long journey and it was a long struggle,” Ahmed said. “The whole community of Australia – the people really supported me throughout this journey. It’s a victory for our sport … and for this country. I just can’t wait to be a citizen. Especially in the field of cricket, I just want to give back something to this country.
“I have a great opportunity with Australia A in Zimbabwe and South Africa. I will try my best to perform well on those two tours and it depends on the selections. It will be an honour to represent Australia in the Ashes or maybe other tournaments. It’s more relaxed now, I can feel there are no issues. Now I’m a citizen and can concentrate on my cricket and look forward to my bright future in cricket.”
During Australia A’s recent tour of the British Isles, Ahmed struggled to inflict any damage with the ball as he only picked up two wickets at a lousy average of 82.50.
“The conditions were tough,” Ahmed admitted. “It was freezing cold, it was nine degrees and the wind was pretty fast. I was bowling against the wind. But I should have bowled a bit better than that. I bowled a few really good balls as well and beat the bat, and I was unlucky a few times with dropped catches but that’s a part of cricket.”