Fawad Ahmed quits first-class cricket to pursue World Cup dream

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Fawad Ahmed, the 37-year old Victoria legspinner, has called time on his first-class career in a bid to make Australia’s World Cup squad.

Fawad, who wasn’t offered a central contract by his state side, has featured in just two Shield games this season, with Victoria preferring left-arm spinner Jon Holland. Fawad will continue to make himself available for the shorter formats, having played a key role in Victoria’s domestic 50-over triumph this season.

In all, Fawad has picked up 205 wickets in 62 first-class games, 19 of which were for Abbottabad in Pakistan, where he grew up. “I’m a cricket ’nuffie’ so it was pretty hard for me. I love four-day cricket,” Fawad told cricket.com.au. “The way I train and the way I love the game – I have spent hours and hours in the nets and enjoyed my time both on the field and off the field.

“It was a very tough decision, but that was the (best) available option and that was (what) the future looks like. There is an end for everything. I still love the game – one-day, T20 or four day cricket – but for me the only available option was white-ball cricket so I’m going to continue to play 50-overs and T20.”

Fawad played the last of his three ODIs in 2013 but continues to remain on the fringes of selection through strong white-ball performances. Since the start of BBL 2017, he has picked up more wickets than any other legspinner in the competition.

He finished the current season for the Sydney Thunder with 13 wickets in 14 matches at an economy of 7.02. With the Thunder having crashed out, Fawad will now feature for Quetta Gladiators in the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League.

Fawad hopes his recent form also helps him earn a berth for the ODIs against Pakistan in UAE. “If I get selected against Pakistan, that would be great,” he said. “I’m not expecting anything but if something came up, I’ve been bowling really well for the last few years.

“Performance-wise I’m in a good position and fitness-wise I’m pretty good as well. If something like that came up, it’d be nice to play with my teammates again, otherwise I’m very grateful for what I’ve had over the last six-seven years here in Victoria.”

Fawad also clarified that the decision to quit long-form cricket was discussed with the Victoria captain-coach duo of Peter Handscomb and Andrew McDonald. “They were all pretty happy for me whatever decision I took,” said Fawad, who featured in Victoria’s three Shield titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“This wasn’t ideal for me because I wanted to play cricket, I wouldn’t be able to play any cricket with Victoria if I was staying for the last couple of months of the summer.

“The best option was to move on and to get some cricket over there (in the PSL) in the near future. If something happens regarding Australia or anything, that (playing in the PSL) would really help my cause as well because I’ll be in touch with white-ball cricket.”

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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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