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Fawad dreams of finding the next
Shane Warne

He fled persecution in Pakistan.

Fawad Ahmed, 34 years old “I would say playing for Australia was a dream; playing international cricket, and for one of the best countries in the world.”
“The (Sheffield) Shield final last year, when I took those eight wickets – that was the moment. We won the Shield, and Australia won the cricket World Cup, and the next day I was announced for the West Indies and the Ashes tour. When I played the first time for Australia, that was a really, really proud moment. I will never forget that.”

“If there was no Shane Warne, I wouldn’t be a cricketer. I still love him; still watch him. There is a lot of talent in this country. You have to find the diamond in the bush.”

Fawad Ahmed’s journey from asylum seeker to Aussie has been helped along by his love of sports and wry sense of humour. Finding easy commonalities with his new home, Fawad has risen from playing club cricket to representing Australia at international level in the few years since he first arrived in Melbourne in 2010.

After completing a Masters in International Relations and playing First Class cricket in Pakistan, Fawad became involved with a local organisation promoting women’s education, and started receiving threats. He remembers the decision to flee and seek asylum as an agonising one. “It wasn’t safe enough at that time for me and it was the better idea to move out. It was a tough decision for me.” He still misses family and friends.

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Six years later, Fawad has become a star in Australia, winning the Sheffield Shield with Victoria, and playing in the Big Bash League for Sydney Thunder. There’s a quiet, unassuming pride in his voice when he talks about the moment he first represented Australia at One Day International level. “9 degrees, raining, and it was summer in the UK,” he laughs.

Coaching kids and supporting young talent are passions for Fawad. Having lived the dream of so many young people, he’s keen to give back, develop young spin bowlers and help find Australia’s next Shane Warne. Beyond cricket, as one of Australia’s most prominent Muslim sportsmen, he also hopes to foster greater community understanding.
“I would love to give back because I got a lot from this country,” Fawad says. “I’m happy here, I love Australia. It is my country now.”

Written by Catherine Stubberfield

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