Wed, 12 Dec 2018
31
Caracas

Legspinner Fawad Ahmed could be in line for a cricketing homecoming of sorts, after he was picked up in the PSL 2019 draft by the Quetta Gladiators.

Fawad is an Australian citizen but was born in Pakistan, and lived there until his late 20s. He had also played first-class and competitive cricket in the country, but was forced to leave for Australia in the face of threats from the Taliban. In Australia he sought asylum, which was initially rejected but eventually accepted, and he became an Australian citizen in 2013.

He has since played three ODIs and two T20Is for Australia - all in 2013 - and though he drifted out of national contention, his story has never slipped away from the public imagination. And earlier this year he was back in the cricketing spolight, as the leading wicket-taker at the Caribbean Premier League, taking 22 wickets for Trinbago Knight Riders in their title-winning run. In last season's Big Bash League he was among the top wicket-takers, with 12 for Sydney Thunder at an economy rate of just over 6.

Next February, however, will be the first time he lines up in the PSL and as a Gold pick, he joins a strong Quetta squad of spinners which includes Sunil Narine, Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Asghar. This season the league is expected to stage eight matches in Pakistan, including the knockouts and final.

Given that Quetta is one of the league's stronger teams, having made the final two seasons out of three, there is a distinct possibility that they will play some games in Pakistan. In turn that means Fawad will have a choice to make on whether he returns to the country for what would be his first high-profile commitment there since he left fearing for his life eight years ago.

Over the last two seasons the league has played games in Pakistan that have involved foreign players, but each time it has gone through a drawn-out process in trying to convince them to travel and play.

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