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Ahmed unmoved by logo row: George Bailey

Published Sep 07, 2013 08:43pm


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Fawad Ahmed. -Photo by AFP
Fawad Ahmed. -Photo by AFP

LONDON: Australia's Fawad Ahmed is unconcerned by the furore his move in not wearing a beer sponsor's logo on his shirt has sparked, according to one-day international vice-captain George Bailey.

Pakistan-born leg-spinner Ahmed, who became an Australian citizen in July after his application was fast-tracked, did not have the VB beer logo on his shirt during his international debut in last week's T20 matches against England.

It emerged on Tuesday he had “expressed discomfort with the conflict this created for him” as a Muslim.

Cricket Australia (CA) agreed he could wear an unbranded shirt, but this led to criticism, notably from two of Australia's best-known sportsmen in former Test batsman Doug Walters and ex-Wallaby rugby union wing David Campese.

Walters was quoted as saying: “I think if he doesn't want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team. Maybe if he doesn't want to be paid, that's OK.”Campese tweeted in response: “Doug Walters tells Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed: if you don't like the VB uniform, don't play for Australia. Well said Doug. Tell him to go home.”

Their comments were condemned as “bigoted” by CA chief executive James Sutherland.

Bailey said former asylum-seeker Ahmed, who added an ODI cap against Scotland in Edinburgh on Wednesday, had dealt with worrying issues in his life.

“I don't think it'd particularly worry Fawad,” Bailey said Saturday after Friday's washout in the first ODI in Leeds denied Ahmed a maiden international appearance against England, Australia's arch-rivals.

“I think he's probably had to deal with a lot more important things than what's on the front of his shirt.

“Fawad (has) a great sense of humour,” added Bailey before explaining how Ahmed had forged a strong bond with Australia coach Darren Lehmann.

“He and the coach have a pretty funny relationship. They like to get stuck into each other, which always provides a lot of lighthearted stuff around the group.

“I know now he's had a taste of playing for Australia he wants to do it a lot - but he wants to do it in all three formats,” said Bailey ahead of the second match of five at Manchester's Old Trafford on Sunday.

Prior to Bailey's remarks, Sutherland defended Ahmed by saying: “Fawad is an Australian cricketer, he is as entitled as anyone to represent his country.

“He was made a citizen in July, he has a passport, he has chosen Australia as his home for very good reasons. The Australian cricket community has welcomed him and we're very proud to have him.”

Sutherland added the criticisms of Ahmed's shirt stance, which is akin to that of South Africa's Hashim Amla, who does not wear the logo of Castle Lager, the Proteas' main sponsor, were “opportunism on some people's parts to reflect bigoted views”.

This is not the first time Campese has found himself at the centre of a Twitter storm after questioning whether women should be writing about rugby in November when Georgina Robinson was assigned by the Sydney Morning Herald to cover the Wallabies' tour of Europe.

Comments (13) Closed

Dilawer Sep 07, 2013 09:18pm

Fawad should be careful and not wear his religion on his sleeve. He should conduct the best to have the best image of his country of his birth and his adopted country. He needs to extra careful not to hurt anyone. Good luck.

imtiaz Sep 07, 2013 10:45pm

Why did he go to Australia? Should have stayed in Afghanistan.

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Sep 08, 2013 03:37am

Both Dough Walters and David Campese are wrong. They need to go back to school and study about cross-cultural and cross-religious sensitivity issues. They must also develop the necessary guts, grit and the understanding to know that whether we like it or not, we are all living in the 21st century wherein the whole world has now become a global village.

At the same time, we must all appreciate the fact that people of all races and religions have the God given right to believe in and practice their faith, cultural and heritage practices no matter which part of the world they live in and irrespective of their so-called residential status.

If David Campese and Dough Walters can publicly ask Fawad Ahmad to leave Australia just because Fawad wants to practice his faith, then the indigenous people of Australia and New Zealand to whom the predecessors of Dough Walters and David Campese invaded, over-ran, looted and occupied based on the jungle law of 'might is right' can also ask him to leave their territory.

Let's be sensible and use common sense, which unfortunately is not so common these days. Dough Walters and David Campese should know that Hasim Amala, the top ranked gentleman cricketer of South Africa, who is also a Muslim by faith had also refused to put-on the logo of a famous brand of beer on his cricket kit, as official sponsors of the South African cricket team. Fortunately in his case, better sense prevailed because the cricket administration and the 'movers and shakers' of South African cricket showed better wisdom, more understanding, realistic courage and good admiration and tolerance to let Hashim Amla practice his religious beliefs and faith both on and off the cricket turf, while representing his country. This is indeed a glittering example for all other cricket players, administrators, fans, organizers, umpires, sponsors, promoters and others in general and global sportsmen and women like Dough Walters and David Compese in particular.

It is high time and the right time for all of us to understand, admire, appreciate and promote inter-faith harmony and inter-racial understanding in all areas. Sports in general and the gentleman's game of cricket in particular should not be an exception to it.

Ahmed's Fan Sep 08, 2013 04:12am

Former Test batsman Doug Walters and ex-Wallaby rugby union wing David Campese, both should be ashamed of their racist remarks. It just shows how narrow minded they both are!

They must apologise to Ahmed and all the Muslim community for their irresponsible comments. Ahmed is a great human being, a great Muslim and a great cricketer. He earned his place in the Australian team simply because he is the best at what he does.

Shame on all those racists out there. Hats off to Mr Ahmed for showing such a great courage and standing up for his belief.

saeed Sep 08, 2013 06:37am

The excuse he made to get the Australian citizenship. He is doing same thing to Australian. And more confusing,majority of Australian this thing is freedom when done in there country but wrong when done in Pakistan.But bravo Doug Walter and David campese taking stand. People like Ahmed destroy Pakistan for there believe and let them destroy there adopted countries ,I don't care.

Desi surfie Sep 08, 2013 08:43am

Cricket Australia has set a very bad precedent in allowing Jawad Ahmed,not to wear their sponsor's logo.what if in near future some other player refuse meat company's logo Because he or she is vegetarian and they are not comfortable . Some other player might have objection to Bank's logo As earning interest is against his religious beliefs. I wonder how far Cricket Australia is prepared to accommodate players religious ,ethnic, cultural,and dietary beliefs.

riaz Sep 08, 2013 09:50am

Fawad bhaeee! they are just asking to put logo, they are not asking you to drink it.

Muhammad Musa Sep 08, 2013 10:55am

It is a test case for those who believe in "Rights" and "Freedom" of individuals. This will expose the true face.

Usman Malik Sep 08, 2013 03:20pm

The boy kind of deserves it. After making the ridiculous asylum claim of being stopped from playing cricket in Swabi where even Molvis are playing cricket in their free time - this is probably something he should have got.

Muhammad Daud Alam Sep 08, 2013 06:46pm

Shabash Fawad..!!!!

khan78 Sep 09, 2013 03:14am

@Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad: all these countries should ban migration part. assylem to bigotry embedded in religious cover

Zunair Sep 09, 2013 11:54pm

So this guy first twists and uses the religion as an excuse to gain/fast-track his citizenship of Australia, knowing very well the culture and traditions there. Then he suddenly cares so much about being a Muslim to not wear the kit with a beer logo.
Well done Fawad, you make us proud.

Selective Sep 10, 2013 02:55pm

No to logo, what about the sponsor money which he gets as salary?