Spinner Fawad Ahmed clear to represent Australia in Ashes after receiving full citizenship

 

Spinner Fawad Ahmed admits he could not have dreamt of the chance to represent Australia in the Ashes when he fled from Pakistan.

The 31-year-old today received full citizenship, pending the formality of a citizenship ceremony, and will now have the opportunity to challenge off-spinner Nathan Lyon for a place in the series against England.

Ahmed, who fled Pakistan because of persecution from religious groups and sought asylum, is currently a part of the Australia A squad.

He told 5 Live Breakfast: "It's amazing, beyond my imagination and my dreams.

"I just came here for a safe life and to be an ordinary person and never even imagined I was going to one day play for Australia.

"I'm already with Australia A and hopefully in the near future I can represent Australia too, it will be a dream moment for me. It's unbelievable."

On his Ashes chances, he added: "I'm not sure at the moment. I'm really concentrating on the Australia A tour, it's a great opportunity for me to prove my skills.

"I need to perform well on that tour. It's a great country, they respect talent and there will definitely be a chance for me, if I'm performing well, to represent Australia maybe sooner or later."

 



Ahmed toured England with the second string this summer, taking two wickets against Ireland and Gloucestershire, and they are are about to embark on tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa with a three-day game in Harare due to begin on July 18.

Ahmed reflected on the difficulties he faced in his homeland and expressed his gratitude for the welcome he has received in Australia.

"It was a tough time, a really hard chapter for me in the last four years," he said.

"It was definitely a tough time and a strange country for me but people love me here, they warmly welcomed me and gave me a lot of respect and honour and dignity.

"I'm really pleased and happy to be an Australian citizen now, I am so excited."

Ahmed was reportedly threatened by extremists in north-west Pakistan who accused him of promoting western values and supporting organisations that promoted the education of women and girls.

His family still live in the area and he spoke of his fear and bewilderment at the issues affecting the country.

"I'm not sure who they are, those people," he said. "We consider them terrorists - from whatever background, ethnicity, nationality, whatever religion they are, they are terrorists.

"It's bad. I'm really sad, the situation is going from bad to worse.

"Because my family, friends and relatives are still there, I'm really worried about them and hopefully peace and prosperity will come soon and the whole nation can live a safe life as we were 10 years ago.

"Nobody knows what's happening there, in the last couple of weeks there have been so many bomb blasts, suicide bomb blasts, target killings.

"I don't know who they are, why they are killing innocent people, they are just terrorising the whole country. They are paralysing everything, damaging the infrastructure and everything.

"I can't understand the destruction, this is really sad for me.

"I'm happy I'm safe, really happy here. This is my country now, Australia, I love this country and they give me respect and honour.

"But my family's there, I'm especially worried about my family."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album