Ahmed says Ashes call-up 'dream come true' after citizenship act amendment

Melbourne, June 6 (ANI): Former Pakistani asylum seeker Fawad Ahmed has said that his Ashes call-up is a 'dream come true' after a parliamentary law amendment paved his way to England for an Ashes trial.

Changes to Australia's Citizenship Act, intended to allow elite cricketers to benefit from expedited passport applications as those in tennis and other Olympic sports to, passed the House of Representatives without amendment, The Age reports.

According to the report, the move came after Cricket Australia announcement that the leg-spinner would fly to England this weekend to join the Australia A squad, which consists of Ashes squad members who are not part of the Champions Trophy limited-overs tournament.

Ecstatic over his call-up, Ahmed refused to speculate on the implication of an almost certain inclusion to Australia's Ashes squad, saying that he will be for the moment concentrating on playing for the Australia A side, adding that it is a great opportunity for him to prove himself because he has played just a few first-class games in Australia.

Explaining that his fleeing Pakistan in 2010 had nothing to do with extending his fledgling first-class cricket career in Australia, Ahmed said that he fled to preserve his life, after his involvement in cricket angered some religious fundamentalists who considered him to be promoting Western values.

Insisting that he identified himself as an Australian, despite not formally having citizenship, Ahmed said that it is an opportunity for him to give back something to this country which has given him asylum and also presented him with the honour and respect of being a part of the elite Australian squad.

However, outspoken parliamentarian Bob Katter objected Ahmed's call-up, saying that Ahmed should have tried to play for Pakistan instead of getting into the Australian team, adding that he would prefer to lose with an Australian team than win with fly-ins from overseas.

But Ahmed appeared unworried by Katter's comments, insisting that he would not be perturbed by any negative spectator or media attention he gets in England, because of the dramatic nature of his squad inclusion and the recent circumstances behind it. (ANI)