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Pakistan-born spinner gets nod for A-team tour ahead of Ashes

Fawad Ahmed: Drawing ever closer to featuring in the 2013 Ashes series in England

Ahmed has the opportunity to prove himself in Africa while his citizenship application awaits approval

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Pakistan-born spinner Fawad Ahmed has been named in the Australia A squad for their forthcoming tour of Africa.

The 31-year-old was added to the 15-man squad on Wednesday for the July and August tour, despite also being in contention for the Ashes series against England.

Ahmed was also joined in the squad by fellow spinner Ashton Agar, who has Sri Lankan grandparents and fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu, born in Australia but of Indian heritage.

"This is a young squad with an abundance of talent and all players will be pressing for higher honours," national selector John Inverarity said.

Ahmed is still awaiting clearance to represent the national team but the leg spinner's prospects of playing for his adopted country were boosted when a bill to amend the Citizenship Act passed through Australia's lower house of parliament earlier this month.

Fast-track

If approval is received from the Senate, the new legislation will allow Australia's immigration minister to fast-track some citizenship applications, such as elite athletes with the potential to represent Australia.

"This is a young squad with an abundance of talent and all players will be pressing for higher honours."

John Inverarity

Meanwhile Alex Doolan, Moises Henriques, Chadd Sayers, Nic Maddinson and Steve Smith will all join the Australia squad as the selectors keep an eye out for potential Ashes replacements.

"It will be a very good opportunity for Tim Paine to prove himself as it will be for Aaron Finch who did so well against the England Lions in February," Inverarity added.

"Should replacements be required for the Ashes tour these players will be playing in a similar time zone from during this time."

The tour will commence with three four-day matches against Zimbabwe and South Africa A before taking part in a one-day series with South Africa A and India A.

Australia A squad: Steve Smith (capt), Aaron Finch, Ashton Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Alex Doolan, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Gurinder Sandhu, Chadd Sayers.

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