Former Australian rugby great David Campese has been criticised for a “bigoted” comment he made about Pakistan-born spin bowler Fawad Ahmed ahead of the five-match limited-overs series against England.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has slammed Campese, who made 101 appearances for the Wallabies, after he said Ahmed should “go home” if he didn’t want to wear the team sponsor logo on his shirt.
Former Australian test cricketer Doug Walters been quoted earlier as saying: "I think if he doesn't want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team."
Campese’s comment was in response to Walters words, and he wrote on his official Twitter account: `'Doug Walters tells Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed: if you don't like the ... uniform, don't play for Australia Well said doug. Tell him to go home."
Ahmed fled Pakistan in 2009 to seek asylum in Australia, and he was selected in the cricket squad after gaining fast-track citizenship in July. He made his debut for Australia in the Twenty20 series against England last week and looks set to feature in the one-day series.
Sutherland defended Fawad and claimed he didn’t raise the issue, but rather Cricket Australia offered it to him.
`'We were the ones that raised it with Fawad to ensure he was comfortable, knowing his religious background and where alcohol fits in with that," Sutherland told Fairfax Media earlier today.
"The Australian cricket community has welcomed him and we're very proud to have him," Sutherland said, while he also added that he had been dismayed at the "opportunism on some people's parts to reflect bigoted views."
Campese issued a response through Twitter, saying: "Well why did he come to Aussie for in the first place. A better life? Now he is telling people what he wants.! .... a lot more kids who would love to play for Australia. And they would t complain," Campese said.
Campese held the all-time Test try scorer record with his 64 tries in 101 games for the Wallabies, although he has since been overtaken by Japan’s Daisuke Ohata.
The 50-year-old was voted the 1991 Rugby World Cup player of the tournament as his country went on to claim the William Webb Ellis trophy, scoring six tries along the way.