Pakistan asylum-seeker dreams of Australia call-up

Pakistan asylum-seeker dreams of Australia call-up

Pakistani asylum-seeker Fawad Ahmed, who was granted a permanent Australia visa in November, wants to play in the Ashes against England, and his state coach believes he is good enough.

The 33-year-old leg-spinner took seven wickets on his Sheffield Shield debut for Victoria two weeks ago and will have another chance to shine against New South Wales at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from tomorrow.

Australia's spinners have been struggling in recent Tests and Victoria coach Greg Shipperd is certain Ahmed has the skills to play at Test level.

"Anyone playing first-class cricket potentially has what it takes to play at the next level," Shipperd said on the Cricket Australia website today.

"Everything we've seen, I think everything the selectors in Victoria and the Australian selectors that have seen him in their own training environment are very excited about his prospects going forward.

"It is about performance and consistency in performance, but I'm confident he certainly has the skill set to play at the next level."

Ahmed left his home in the border region near Afghanistan to come to Australia on a short-stay visa in 2010, claiming he was targeted by Muslim extremists because of the perception that cricket promotes Western values.

He was granted a permanent visa to stay in November and quickly established his credentials at the Melbourne Renegades in the T20 Big Bash League and with an appearance for the Prime Minister's XI against the West Indies in January.

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