Pak refugee's dream to play for Oz Test team comes closer after permanent visa grant

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 15, 2012 08:10 hrs

Pakistani refugee Fawad Ahmed, a talented cricketer who fled to Australia after receiving death threats from religious extremists, has been granted permission from federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to stay in the country.

After receiving a permanent visa in Australia, the leg spinner could play in the domestic tournaments like the Big Bash League, and if he manages to impress selectors his dream of earning a baggy green could also be fulfilled.

"The Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has personally considered Mr Ahmed's case and decided to grant a permanent visa for him to be able to stay, work and play cricket in Australia, subject to the normal health and security checks which he'll now undertake," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted a spokesman for Bowen, as saying.

The news comes a week after the Australian cricket team flew Ahmed, a talented leg-spinner, to Brisbane to help its batsmen prepare for the first Test against South Africa. "This is such a special moment in my life. I'm hopeful I can play the highest level cricket as well. I'm really grateful to the government and all the people in cricket who helped me, and thanks be to almighty God because I have waited for a long time," Ahmed said. "The last three years was a very hard time, I couldn't sleep at night times because it was very stressful. I was so anxious I couldn't perform well [at cricket]," he added."I'm looking forward to playing at the highest level I can. I'm in a part of the world where people really respect talent, and if I perform I am really hopeful I can play Test cricket," he said.

Ahmed fled persecution in northern Pakistan, where he said he received death threats from religious extremists who accused him of promoting Western values. (ANI)

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