Australia gamble on Pakistani spinner, Fawad Ahmed, for Ashes squad


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The Independent Online

For Australia, it is one thing after another. They are beset by worry and panic. Their preparations for the Champions Trophy and the Ashes are constantly moveable feasts which are increasingly threatening thin pickings.

As they waited anxiously for their captain, Michael Clarke, to recover in time for their match on Friday against England in the Champions Trophy, they were busy making rushed plans to propel a little-known bowler called Fawad Ahmed into the Ashes squad. Clarke's frail back is longstanding. It is a minor miracle that he has nursed it through 92 Tests. But he has been forced to visit a specialist this week and is a doubt for Edgbaston.

Where he is concerned, the Australians must have at least one eye on the rest of the year which involves 10 Ashes Tests. Which is why they will almost certainly include the Pakistani leg-spinner, Fawad Ahmed in their Ashes squad.

He was added to their A team's tour of Britain after fast-track legislation for immigrant applications passed the first key hurdle in the country's parliament. Fawad, 31, who has played 13 first-class matches, three of them in Australia, sought asylum in the country after fleeing the North West Frontier in 2010.