Fawad Ahmed, an asylum seeker from Pakistan, is a step closer to being considered for Australia's cricket team after being awarded a full-time contract with the Victoria state team.
The 31-year-old legspinner, who has bowled in the nets for the Australian team and already taken 16 wickets in three Sheffield Shield matches for Victoria, was awarded the state contract Friday for the 2013-14 season.
Ahmed played 10 first-class matches in Pakistan before arriving in Australia in 2010 seeking asylum. He was granted permanent residency last year and could qualify for Australia in August under International Cricket Council guidelines, but will need to be granted citizenship before being considered for the national team.
Australia hasn't been able to produce a consistent, quality test legbreak bowler since the retirements of Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill.