SYDNEY – An Australian cricketer of Pakistani origin has been named as 'Australia Muslim Sportsperson' of 2013 at the eighth annual Australian Muslim Achievement awards.
"I am extremely humbled to be named the Australian Muslim Sportsperson of the Year," Fawad Ahmed was quoted by IANS news agency on Monday, December 2.
"I am fortunate that Cricket Australia, Cricket Victoria and Melbourne University Cricket Club have helped me fulfill my dream in Australia and have embraced my history, tradition and religion," jubilant Ahmed added.
Competing with Roosters NRL player Sonny Bill Williams and Richmond AFL player Bachar Houli, Ahmed gained the prestigious award.
The nomination was announced during a celebration ceremony in Sydney on Sunday which was organized by Mission of Hope.
"I hope my story inspires other young people to achieve success on and off the field," the Muslim cricketer added.
During the ceremony, the Mission has praised the iconic role of the Muslim community in Australia.
Through 2013, Ahmed’s success stories put him on top of the award candidates.
Earlier this year, the spinner represented Australia in One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals against England.
The Muslim Cricketer took three wickets in three One Day International (ODIs), and three more in two T20 International with best figures of three for twenty-five.
During Australia's ‘A Tour of Africa’ in July and August, Ahmed gained fifteen wickets in three matches at 22.66, and in 8 Bupa Sheffield matches for the commonwealth Bank Bushrangers.
Ahmed recorded thirty wickets at 31.03 in 2013, so far.
Receiving the news of Ahmed's award, Cricket Australia officials have expressed pride for Ahmed 's success.
"It shows that Fawad has achieved outstanding things both on and away from the cricket pitch, and we are very proud of him," said James Sutherland, CA Chief Executive Officer.
"To see the strength of candidates in the field shows the immense impact Ahmed has had on the many Muslim communities across Australia."
Last July, Ahmed became an Australian citizen after Cricket Australia (CA) backed him.
Cricket Australia have agreed to allow Ahmed to compete without wearing the logo of a beer sponsor on his playing shirt, last September, due to his Muslim faith.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.
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