'Elite' Ahmed may see 'fast track' of Ashes dream following new Oz citizenship bill

Sydney, May 31 (ANI): Australian refugee leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed may soon join Australia's Ashes campaign following the introduction of citizenship law changes in the parliament.

Although Immigration and Citizenship Minister Brendan O'Connor, whose bill will enable citizenship to be fast-tracked in special circumstances, did not mention Ahmed by name, he referred to 'elite athletes', with government sources confirming that Ahmed would also be covered by the measure, News.com.au reports.

Often judged as the best spinner in Australia, Ahmed had played first-class cricket in Pakistan before fleeing to Australia in 2010 where, after an initial rejection, he was granted asylum, although under existing rules, he could not be granted an Australian passport in time for the Ashes.

The report further said that off spinner Nathan Lyon is the only spinner currently named in the Ashes squad.

Calling Ahmed's story as heroic, spin legend Shane Warne said that Ahmed is a quality spinner and hoped for him to be picked up for the Ashes squad as he feels that Ahmed would be a good addition to the team for the Ashes.

According to Warne, to see Ahmed keep fighting and doing well and now be in the position where he could possibly play for Australia, is a real feel-good story.

According to the report, O'Connor's measure would clear the way for a fast-tracked passport, provided parliament can pass it promptly, and will also give him personal power to apply shorter residential requirements on some citizenship applicants, who would be of benefit to the country.

O'Connor also said that Australia should be proud to call these people their own. (ANI)


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