Is cricket the key to turning around Gillard's election campaign?

By Martin Smith, Yahoo!7 February 26, 2013, 11:31 am

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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22 Comments

  1. andy05:26pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    @Peter, if some one is talented and if he is interested in providing his services, why not utilize him so that both the sides can benefit. How about Glen Maxwell getting a million dollar to play for IPL, same as soccerros players playing in europe and other parts of the world.

    Reply
  2. andy05:21pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    @Peter wake up mate, these days you dont see Indians comming in as illegal migrants, rather they come in as a student, spend a fortune on tution fees, finish their degree, work here, pay tax, bring their family over, invest the money they earn in OZ. Go and see it for yourself at new land release areas in Perth to find out. They dont depend on centrelink.

    Reply
  3. Yes for NBN Mark05:20pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Why is he not heading to an islamic country? Why Australia? Will he bring his whole family with him with his wife in a burqa trailing behind.

    Reply
  4. Cia A04:59pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Two faced hypocrisy that demonstrates the win at all cost unsporting mentality of Australian sports administrators and government officials. The plebs have to keep to the rules, therefore the authorities should.

    Reply
  5. Paul04:57pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Apparently after being picked in PM XI his first words were "praise be to Allah" - no yourippa youbeaut or whataballtearer - please leave me out of this as we islamisise aust culture to the detriment of the majority

    Reply
  6. Peter04:25pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    If that be the criteria, why doesn't Gillard allow all the illegal immigrants from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka come sailing right in? Better still, why not send cruise liners over there for just such a purpose? We would be world champions again in cricket. Where will all this lead to? More labor votes from appreciative illegals?

    Reply
  7. Woebegone04:19pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    No Muslims.

    Reply
  8. my names “ GUYFAUX ”03:52pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    GOOD KITTEN AFTER a DECENT HOME.............?

    1 Reply
  9. Howard03:50pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Ditch the lying WITCH

    Reply
  10. navylad03:46pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    So to bypass ALL Australian laws now all you have to do is Play cricket for Victoria, or catch a boat out here. WHY do we have an IMMIGRATION Dept at all we might as well just throw the gates open, with this Lbaor mob. PLease Roll on Sept to CLOSE our borders and STOP this #$%$ causing so much damage to this country

    Reply
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