Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Fawad Ahmed and the quest for the new Shane Warne

It is hard not to be cheered by the story of Fawad Ahmed, the leg spinner who fled Pakistan after facing religious persecution and has been granted Australian citizenship in time to be considered for the Ashes this summer.

Yes, the speed with which his case was waved through reminds one of the Zola Budd affair, but the England team has its share of players with exotic backgrounds. And Ahmed's treatment marks a welcome change from the way refugees have been treated in Australia in recent years.

But the enthusiasm for making Ahmed an Australian citizen does support the view that not all is well with Australian cricket.

We are on the eve of the next Ashes series, yet they seem to have no clear idea of what their strongest side is.

And they appear still to be obsessed with the idea of finding 'the new Shane Warne'. Ever since the blond genius retired, young spinners have been plucked from obscurity, written up as the next big thing and then discarded when, inevitably, they fail to live up to the hype.

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