Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 07:37am
Ahmed tipped to torment England
The 33-year-old, who sought asylum in Australia in 2010 before securing residency two years later, is one of 17 players selected for both the five-Test series and a preceding tour of the West Indies.
Ahmed took 48 wickets during Victoria's triumphant Sheffield Shield campaign, catching the eye of national selector Rod Marsh, who feels the spinner can make life difficult for England's batsmen when the Ashes series starts in July.
"Him being a leg-spinner as opposed to a finger spinner gave him a slight advantage," Marsh said at a press conference organised to announce the squad.
"Believe it or not, Australia is always looking for leg-spinners. We've had a proud history of leg-spinning in this country and we want that to continue.
"(Ahmed) doesn't bowl too much rubbish and he creates a lot of pressure.
"He has men around the bat in most instances and he keeps asking the batsmen questions, which is what good spinners do.
"He maintains good economy and asks questions of both left and right-handers, bearing in mind that England may have up to seven left-handers."
There was no place for all-rounder Glenn Maxwell despite his World Cup heroics but Adam Voges, the scorer of 1358 runs in Shield cricket last season, will be on the plane departing for the West Indies on May 19.
One-day specialist Maxwell, named in the International Cricket Council's team of the tournament following Sunday's triumph over New Zealand in Melbourne, made only 41 runs and failed to take a wicket against Pakistan in his last Test appearance for the Baggy Green back in October.
Marsh said of Voges: "I looked at him on four or more occasions and I thought 'I don't know how anyone will get this bloke out', he was that dominant.
"It wasn't just the 1300-odd runs, it was the way he made them.
"It was as good a Sheffield Shield batting as I have ever seen. Pure weight of runs, the way in which he got those runs, you could see Test player written all over him."
While fast bowler Ryan Harris is included, he will remain in Australia throughout the tour of the West Indies, which begins in Dominica on June 5, as he anticipates the birth of his first child.
After the second Test in Jamaica - scheduled to conclude on June 17 - he will travel to the United Kingdom to reunite with his team-mates ahead of the first Ashes Test at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on July 8.
James Pattinson misses the trip to the Caribbean due to an injured left hamstring but will be observed over the coming weeks and may become an option later in the Australian winter.
New South Wales wicket-keeper Peter Nevill is included in a Test squad for the first time after scoring 764 runs throughout the Shield campaign.
"Peter Nevill has been on our radar for some time and deserves his opportunity through weight of runs and performances behind the stumps," said Marsh.
"He has also demonstrated impressive leadership qualities which have caught our eye."
Also travelling are skipper Michael Clarke and his vice-captain Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon.
Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, David Warner and Shane Watson complete the selection.
Marsh told cricketaustralia.com: "The Test team has performed very well in recent times, but the big challenge is to do that away from home.
"We believe this squad has sufficient depth for these important Test matches against the West Indies and England and will give us the best chance of success."
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Fawad Ahmed will test England's batsmen with his brand of leg-spinning