6 Jun 2013

Law change could bolster Australia's Ashes squad with spinner

6:09 pm on 6 June 2013

The Pakistan born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed will join the Australia A squad for the remainder of its tour of the British Isles.

He's also a step closer to joining Australia's Ashes campaign as a result of a citizenship law change passing the lower house.

Draft laws that will fast track citizenship in special circumstances cleared the House of

Representatives on Wednesday after being debated in the offshoot federation chamber.

The measure will give the Immigration Minister power to apply shorter residential requirements on some citizenship applicants.

That will cover exceptional circumstances such as elite athletes with the potential to represent Australia.

Ahmed, who some rate as the best spinner in Australia, played first-class cricket in Pakistan before fleeing to Australia in 2010 where, after an initial rejection, he was granted asylum.

The 31-year-old played for Melbourne University and broke into the Victorian team last season.

He was excluded from Australia's initial 16-man Ashes squad, but chief selector John Inverarity has said he remains in contention for a late call-up if granted citizenship in time.

Ahmed has only played three first-class matches for Victoria but has taken 16 wickets in that time.

Australian Citizenship Amendment (Special Residence Requirements) Bill 2013 will go the Senate in a fortnight and is expected to pass parliament in time for Ahmed to receive his passport.

The Ashes begin in England on July 10.

Ahmed will depart for the UK over the weekend and be available for selection in the Australia A tour matches against Ireland (14-17 June) and Gloucestershire (21-23 June).