Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed on brink of Australian citizenship
The former refugee Fawad Ahmed, 31, is currently with the Australia A squad in England and may have to return home to sit a 20-question, 45-minute test to finally confirm his citizenship. He would then have to complete a brief citizenship ceremony.
Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed is on the brink of becoming an Australian citizen and being eligible to play in the Ashes after the country's Senate on Thursday cleared legislation that allows him to get a passport.
The former refugee, 31, is currently with the Australia A squad in England and may have to return home to sit a 20-question, 45-minute test to finally confirm his citizenship. He would then have to complete a brief citizenship ceremony.
It follows passage through the upper house of parliament of a bill to amend the Citizenship Act, which will help fast-track his application. The lower house had already approved the bill.
The legislation allows the immigration minister to apply shorter residential requirements on some citizenship applicants, such as elite athletes with the potential to represent Australia, as in Ahmed's case.
"This is pleasing news for CA and a big step forward in a process that will help enable Fawad Ahmed become an Australian citizen," Cricket Australia said.
"Pending Royal Assent by the governor-general, the bill will become law and Ahmed will be considered for Australian citizenship, subject to the normal tests and assessments that any citizenship applicant would go through."
National Selector John Inverarity said this week that Ahmed could be considered for selection for the Ashes series should he gain a passport.
"It is likely that his passport will be through in time for him to be considered for the squad. Then he will be considered for selection," Inverarity told the BBC.
"He is a fine young man who has handled himself extremely well so it's a very interesting story, especially in the diversity context so we will just have to wait and see what happens. He is a very good leg-spin bowler."
Ahmed was Wednesday named in the Australia A squad for a tour of Africa beginning next month, despite also being in contention for the Ashes.
The opening Test of the Ashes series starts in Nottingham on July 10 with Nathan Lyon the only spin bowler in Australia's 16-man squad.