CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Pakistan-born legspinner Fawad Ahmed has been named in an Australian Prime Minister's XI to play the West Indies on Jan. 29, only two months after gaining asylum in Australia at his second attempt.
The one-day match at Canberra's Manuka Oval is a traditional part of the Australian cricket calendar, which gives the national selectors a chance to blood rising young players against touring teams.
The Prime Minister's XI will be led by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, with veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin as his vice-captain.
Fawad, 23, immigrated to Australia in 2010 on a short-term visa and later claimed refugee status, saying he faced persecution from religious extremists if he returned to Pakistan. His initial application was declined but he appealed and was granted permanent residency in November, 2012.
"Fawad is playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the Twenty20 Big Bash League and grade club Melbourne University, and we are encouraged by his ongoing development," Australia selection chairman John Inverarity said.
"We have also been very pleased with the progress of Indian-born fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu who has performed well for the Sydney Thunder following strong performances for Australia in last year's Under-19 World Cup."
Sandhu has also been named in the Prime Minister's XI.