Senate vote clears Ahmed for Ashes

Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed has cleared the final hurdle to be eligible for the looming Ashes series in England after legislation that allows him to be granted a passport successfully passed through the Senate on Thursday afternoon.

The Pakistan-born asylum seeker is touring with the Australia A squad in England but can now officially be selected for the main event of the northern hemisphere summer after amendments to the Citizenship Act were given the green light in Canberra by passing through both houses of parliament.

Ahmed, 31, was on Wednesday named in an Australia A squad to tour South Africa and Zimbabwe starting in July, a visit that clashes with much of the Ashes tour.

However, he will have a chance to make a final impression on selectors when he turns out for the A team against Gloucestershire at Bristol in a match starting on Friday.

National selector John Inverarity said on Wednesday that Ahmed and young Western Australian spinner Ashton Agar were both in contention to be added to the Ashes squad if it was determined that the tourists required a boost to their spin bowling stocks ahead of the series, starting at Trent Bridge on July 10.

Ahmed bowled only 17 overs, claiming just the one wicket, during the previous Australia A match against Ireland in Belfast however that game was played in damp conditions.

“He will be considered for selection – no more than that,” Inverarity said in an interview on the BBC. “If we select him for the Ashes team the amount of pressure on him is going to be extraordinary. He’s shown signs of great maturity, but it’s going to be extremely difficult.”

The inclusion of Ahmed would also ramp up pressure on the team’s incumbent spinner Nathan Lyon, who was dropped for the second Test on the tour of India in March but bounced back well with a fine performance in the final match in Delhi to re-affirm his standing as the country’s top spinner.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.