Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland has condemned ”bigoted” comments about Australian spinner Fawad Ahmed, after former rugby union international David Campese said he should ”go home” if he didn’t want to wear a beer sponsor’s logo on his playing shirt.
Campese was commenting on a story that appeared in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, in which former Test batsman Doug Walters was quoted as saying: ”I think if he doesn’t want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team. Maybe if he doesn’t want to be paid that’s OK”. Campese tweeted: ”Doug Walters tells Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed: if you don’t like the VB uniform, don’t play for Australia Well said doug. Tell him to go home.”
Ahmed was granted refugee protection in Australia on the basis that Taliban commanders in his homeland threatened on multiple occasions to kill him for coaching local children and promoting education free from religious extremism for women and girls.
He was granted permanent residency in Australia last November and in July became an Australian citizen.
Sutherland said the comments were ”out of order” and a poor reflection on Australian society. ”Fawad is an Australian cricketer, he is as entitled as anyone to represent his country. He was made a citizen in July, he has a passport, he has chosen Australia as his home for very good reasons. The Australian cricket community has welcomed him and we’re very proud to have him,” he said, adding that he had been dismayed at the ”opportunism on some people’s parts to reflect bigoted views”.
”He is a cricketer who has religious beliefs and he is an Australian. Irrespective of cultural background or religious beliefs, if you are Australian you are eligible to play cricket for Australia and if you’re good at cricket we want you in our team.”
See your ad here
CA is determined cricket will become a more diverse sport, as Asia becomes the biggest source of migration. Sutherland also revealed it was CA that approached Ahmed about the alcohol advertising, not the other way around, and said there was no suggestion – either from within cricket or the sponsor that he should pay a penalty for declining to display the logo. ”We were the ones that raised it with Fawad to ensure he was comfortable, knowing his religious background and where alcohol fits in with that.”
Campese claimed he didn’t care about Ahmed’s religion but objected to his beliefs impinging on the sporting arena. He said: ”well why did he come to Aussie in the first place. A better life? Now he is telling people what he wants.!
”They is a lot more kids who would love to play for Australia. And they would t complain.” ”we were supported by XXXX and I was not a beer drinker. So Doug is right go back to where you come from”.