Pakistani cricketer Fawad Ahmed Khan was recently granted permanent residence status in Australia. He signed a professional contract with the Melbourne Renegades as a bowler, in Australiaâ€™s Big Bash League. His initial application for permanent residence had been declined before being subsequently approved.
Ahmed was born in Marghuz, North-West Frontier Province,in Pakistan. He began playing cricket for Swabi District in local competitions. Playing as a right-arm leg spinner, he made his first-class debut for Abbottabad in 2005, playing two matches before being dropped from the side. Ahmed resumed playing first-class cricket in 2009, playing for Pakistan Customs in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy and later that year also played three further matches for Abbottabad. His best bowling figures, 6/109, were taken for Pakistan Customs against the Karachi Whites in January 2009.
Ahmed left Pakistan in 2010, emigrating to Australia on a short-stay visa sponsored by the Yoogali Cricket Association. Soon after arrival, he applied for refugee status, claiming he was persecuted by religious extremists for playing and coaching cricket. He told Australiaâ€™s The Age, â€œI got death threats from them,â€™â€™ he says. â€˜â€™They say I am promoting a Western culture and bringing kids out of their homes for recreational activity and if you continue this it might be really difficult for you. I quit coaching, but I got [picked] for [first-class] cricket and the matches were all around Pakistan. When I started performing, they said, â€˜You are still involved with cricket and promoting Western culture. If you come back to home, or wherever you are, we will find you.â€™ I am happy that I am a good Muslim. I am doing nothing contrary to Islam. I am playing here the last two years and I am still praying and I never drank alcohol. There is nothing contradictory with Islam and playing cricket.â€
Choosing to live in Melbourne, Victoria Ahmed took up playing with Hoppers Crossing in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association, and soon progressed to playing for Melbourne University in Victorian Premier Cricket, before signing with the Melbourne Renegades.