Spinner Fawad Ahmed clear to represent Australia in Ashes after receiving full citizenship
Tuesday 02 July 2013
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."
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Adel Taraabt criticism from QPR boss Harry Redknapp sparked by player walking out of team meeting prior to Liverpool game
West Brom vs Manchester United player ratings: Saido Berahino scores highest, whilst Marcos Rojo scores lowest
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments