Pakistani cricketer Fawad Ahmed has bagged a contract with the Melbourne Renegades for the Big Bash League, a development which caps a near perfect ending for the player who was only recently granted asylum by Australia, The Age reported.
Ahmed, who had been targeted by extremists in his native village in the border region near Afghanistan for “promoting” Western values, had seeked asylum in Australia. It was a struggle that lasted for more than two years until his cricketing skills put him on the radar of Cricket Australia, who used the leg-spinner's services to prepare for the Test series against South Africa.
Ahmed, 30, had also long been one Renegades' targets for the Big Bash, but his eventual qualification as a local player sealed the deal.
“That just changed everything,” Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry said.
“We'd always looked at him seriously but only as a replacement. Now that he's available to play the whole series as a domestic player, it's changed the momentum.”
Coventry said the decision to pick the legspinner, also being pursued by a few other team in the Big Bash, was based on his merit as a cricketer and not an emotional one.
“'The feedback that came back from his bowling to [the Australian Test squad] in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago … from the players was that this guy is just incredible.
“Having guys like Murali [Muthiah Muralidaran] and Aaron O'Brien and now him in the mix, we've got some really good options for spin.”