AS he dreams of becoming the latest Australian leg-spinner to torment England’s batsmen, Fawad Ahmed has been spending every night watching YouTube clips of Shane Warne’s greatest deliveries.
The Pakistani asylum-seeker remains hopeful of the Australian Immigration Department fast-tracking his application for citizenship before the Ashes series begins in July.
Fawad, who escaped persecution in Pakistan to begin a new life in Victoria, will qualify for Australia under ICC rules in mid-August, but would need an Aussie passport to play for his new country before then.
In the meantime, he is getting square eyes watching old videos of Australia’s greatest-ever legspinner in action.
“I watch his videos on YouTube and I am still learning from those videos,” Fawad told News Limited today.
“Every night I am looking for those Warney classic moments.
“I Iearn a lot from that, because honestly I never had the internet or facilities to watch YouTube when I was in Pakistan.”
Fawad dodged kidnappers and death threats in Pakistan but crashing through Australian Government red-tape might arguably be his toughest challenge.
The 31-year-old now admits he is unlikely to be named in Australia’s Ashes squad, which could be announced as soon as this week, although he is hoping to be a late addition.
“The government is pretty hopeful – but we are not sure of the exact date and time (of getting citizenship). It is not that easy,” Fawad said.
“At the moment I don’t think they are going to announce my name in the Ashes squad. But I think I am still a chance (of getting added to the Ashes squad later).
“In England, leg-spinners have been very successful and that is a good sign for me.”
Ahmed has played just 13 first-class games, but believes he can be a force in the baggy green after 16 wickets for Victoria in three Shield games last summer at 28.37.
For the leg-psinner who grew up playing backyard cricket with a taped-up tennis ball in Pakistan – before later escaping the strife-torn country – it has been an incredible journey.
“It was a pretty tough time in Pakistan, things were going really bad and terrorism was on the peak,” he said.
“I got really bad death threats from some people and there were kidnappings going on.
“I just came out to Australia to escape.
“What has happened since has been like a dream and a fairytale – like what you would see in the movies.
“I was just a part-time club cricket player and now I could have a chance to play for Australia.
“I am just waiting for an opportunity and a chance.”
Fawad and several other “spinners of national interest” are in Brisbane this week for a training camp with new Australian spin consultant Stuart MacGill, the former Test leg-spinner.