The decision to grant Fawad Ahmed Australian citizenship is one of the feel good stories of 2013. The decision ended months of toing and froing between government officials and Cricket Australia, and fortunately for all parties, saw the right outcome achieved.
After fleeing Pakistan in 2010, Ahmed was quickly drafted into a local team, before being picked up in the Melbourne grade competition.
It soon became clear that he was a talent, and Australia adopted him as a net bowler to prepare them for South Africa’s Imran Tahir.
Ahmed made his KFC T20 Big Bash League debut for the Melbourne Renegades, before playing out the rest of the season with the Bushrangers.
His bowling style has drawn comparisons to the great Anil Kumble, and it is this sort of praise that has him in line for a possible Australian debut.
Five matches in the Ryobi Cup yielded 10 wickets for Ahmed, which included a match-turning 3/47 in Adelaide.
His attacking approach has also served him well in the Bupa Sheffield Shield. With 16 wickets in just three appearances, Ahmed enhanced his chances of a spot on the plane to England.
Ahmed picked up seven wickets on debut against Queensland, including a five wicket haul in the second innings, before finishing the season with six wickets against eventual champions, the Tigers.
Initially included on tour for Australia A, Ahmed picked up two wickets against Ireland and Gloucester, before flying home to finalise his citizenship.
Few players have garnered such political attention, but then I guess not many have experienced what Ahmed has.
Australia has been looking for a permanent spinner ever since Shane Warne retired. If the early whispers are true, then Fawad Ahmed might just be the man.