Fawad Ahmed, born on 5th February 1982 in Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, is a cricketer whose remarkable journey from Pakistan to Australia showcases his unwavering determination and incredible talent. Known for his right-arm leg-spin, Fawad Ahmed has not only conquered the cricketing world but has also overcome numerous challenges along the way.
An Early Introduction to Cricket
Fawad Ahmed’s tryst with cricket began in his hometown of Swabi. He started playing for Swabi District in local competitions, where he honed his skills and showcased his love for the game.
The First-Class Debut
He made his debut in the first-class format for Abbottabad in 2005, but his journey faced an early setback as he was dropped from the team after just two matches. However, Fawad didn’t let this deter his spirit. He returned to first-class cricket in 2009, this time playing for Pakistan Customs in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy. His remarkable figures of 6/109 against Karachi Whites in January 2009 displayed his potential.
The Move to Australia
In 2010, Fawad Ahmed made a life-altering decision by emigrating to Australia on a short-stay visa sponsored by the Yoogali Cricket Association. Soon after his arrival, he applied for refugee status, citing persecution by religious extremists due to his involvement in cricket. His courage to seek a better life in a foreign land stands as a testament to his resilience.
Cricket in Australia
Choosing Melbourne, Victoria, as his new home, Fawad Ahmed embarked on his cricketing journey in Australia. He started playing for Hoppers Crossing in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association and swiftly moved on to represent Melbourne University in Victorian Premier Cricket. His skills and performances did not go unnoticed.
A Promising T20 Debut
In January 2013, Fawad Ahmed made his debut in the Big Bash League (BBL), the prestigious Australian T20 competition. His performances in the BBL earned him a place in the Prime Minister’s XI to face the West Indies, a testament to his growing stature in Australian cricket.
Permanent Residency and Big Bash League
Despite his initial application being declined, Fawad Ahmed was granted permanent residency in November 2012. Later that month, he was signed by the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League, where he had the opportunity to showcase his skills and make a mark on the Australian cricket scene.
Australian Citizenship and International Debut
On 2nd July 2013, Fawad Ahmed was granted Australian citizenship, paving the way for him to represent the full Australian national cricket team. His dream of playing at the highest level was realized when he made his debut for Australia in a T20 international against England on 29th August 2013.
A Devout Muslim and a Professional
Fawad Ahmed’s devotion to his faith is well-known. He observes the holy month of Ramadan, occasionally missing training sessions to do so. During matches, he is known to leave the field to pray. Additionally, Ahmed has made requests to remove logos of sponsors whose activities conflict with his beliefs. In 2013, the logo of Victoria Bitter was removed from his shirt due to his religious beliefs that prohibit alcohol.
A Test Call-up and BBL Success
Fawad Ahmed’s success in domestic cricket for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield led to him being named in the Australian Test Squad to tour the West Indies and England in 2015. His impressive performances didn’t go unnoticed, and he continued to contribute in various formats of the game.
Global T20 Leagues and Switching Clubs
Fawad Ahmed’s cricketing journey has seen him participate in various global T20 leagues. He played for the Vancouver Knights and the Montreal Tigers in the Global T20 Canada tournament. In the Big Bash League, he made the switch to the Perth Scorchers. He has also been a part of the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League and Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League.
A Return to the Melbourne Renegades
In 2023, Fawad Ahmed made a return to the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League. This move came as a replacement player for Shaun Marsh, who had sustained a hamstring strain.
Fawad Ahmed’s cricketing journey is one of perseverance, talent, and dedication. His unwavering commitment to the sport, as well as his ability to overcome challenges, has made him an inspiration to aspiring cricketers worldwide.