Sydney: Pakistan-born Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed wants to be a role model for his community not just through his cricketing skills but also wants to showcase the true meaning of his religion via the game.
An asylum seeker in Australia after fleeing Pakistan in 2010, Ahmed earned a T20 entry in the Kangaroo squad in August 2013 and has since played 3 ODIs and 2 T20 for the national side.
With Australia set to play West Indies in a two-Test series starting June 3, a Test debut is on the cards for the 33-year-old player and Ahmed not only wants to showcase his cricketing skills but also play an ambassador for his religion.
"I would like to engage more with the non-Muslim community to spread a message about being a Muslim, being an athlete and representing Australia, and how we can live together and how sports can bring us together," Ahmed was quoted as saying on Sydney Morning Herald.
"I would say this is my duty to do that, to play that role especially when we see that stress in the community around the country like after the Sydney siege. There is a lot of misunderstanding in the community so I would love to play my role and be a part of that.
"We are representing 1.7 billion Muslims in the world rather than those few thousand people ... whatever they are called, terrorists or whatever. I would love to represent that 1.7 billion people and to be a role model for all Muslims, and to connect with the people about how we can live together in this beautiful country," he added.
Calling Melbourne his home, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-born player is also happy to seecricket back in Pakistan with Zimbabwe agreeing to tour the troubled nation after the horrific 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus.
"I'm so happy in Australia, it's my country now and I chose this country. I'm so pleased and honoured to be living in this country," he said. "I think it's great news (the Zimbabwe tour), especially for Pakistan and for the world of cricket.
It's good for the future of Pakistan cricket and it's good for the world of cricket. I'm so happy about it. Hopefully more teams can visit Pakistan in the future and they can produce a safe environment for the visitors.