Julia Gillard with Fawad Ahmed at the Prime Minister's XI match in January. SOURCE: Getty Images

With Julia Gillard's election campaign proving to be as lifeless as Australia's bowling attack, the key to winning a few extra votes may lie in the unlikely hands of a cricketer from Melbourne.

Fawad Ahmed is a 33-year-old spin bowler who has just been handed a full-time playing contract with Victoria.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Ahmed was forced to emigrate to Australia in 2010 when religious fundamentalists threatened him for promoting Western culture by playing and coaching cricket.

But with his life and career back on a smooth path, Ahmed is looming as the solution to Australia's spin bowling woes.

After taking seven wickets on his debut for Victoria last week, the captains of both sides were in no doubt that Ahmed was up to the rigours of international cricket.

The only problem is the softly-spoken leggie is not yet eligible to play for his adopted country.

Under International Cricket Council rules, Ahmed will be eligible to play for Australia on August 18 as he will have spent enough time in the country by then.

Alternatively - and this is where Gillard comes in - Ahmed can be selected as soon as he is given his Australian passport.

Much like skilled labourers and Defence Force recruits, exceptional athletes like Ahmed can have their applications for citizenship brought forward under a clause in the Australian Citizenship Act.

Cricket Australia was instrumental in having Ahmed's official residency approved late last year and they are reportedly lobbying the government again in an attempt to expedite his new passport.

And with Australia's spinners floundering in India and the Ashes getting underway on July 10, what better way for Gillard to win some extra votes than to fast-track the progression of our newest cricket star?

WHAT THEY SAY

"The only thing is the citizenship, the passport. I'm pretty hopeful. There must be some way to get the passport and maybe as soon as (possible) I can be eligible to play for Australia."

- Fawad Ahmed

"When he's qualified, he'll play for Australia pretty quickly, I'd imagine. It's pretty simple. He's one of the better leg-spinners - if not the best - I've seen in first class cricket outside (Stuart) MacGill and (Shane) Warne."

- Victorian captain Cameron White

"He's a match-winner, especially on pitches that turn. He's got great control and he's got a good wrong 'un. He would hold his own at the top level, comfortably."

- Queensland captain James Hopes


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