Ahmed announces retirement from first-class cricket | Sydney Thunder - BBL
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Ahmed announces retirement from first-class cricket

13 February 2019

Fawad Ahmed // Getty Images

Leg spinner to focus on push for ODI recall

Sydney Thunder’s Fawad Ahmed has announced his retirement from first-class cricket to focus on a push for national recall.

After a successful Sheffield Shield career that’s seen him collect 156 wickets at under 30 as well as three titles, the 37-year-old has confirmed he won't be available for Victoria for the remainder of the season.

"I'm a cricket 'nuffie' so it was pretty hard for me. I love four-day cricket," Ahmed told cricket.com.au.

"The way I train and the way I love the game - I have spent hours and hours in the nets and enjoyed my time both on the field and off the field.

"It was a very tough decision, but that was the (best) available option and that was the future looks like."

The leg spinner played the last of his three ODIs in September 2013 but is hopeful of playing a role in Australia’s 50-over World Cup defence in the United Kingdom later this year.

Ahmed - who has taken more BBL wickets than any other Australian spin bowler over the past three seasons - is still among the country's most effective white-ball spinners.

He collected 13 at 25.38 in BBL|08 to finish as Thunder's second leading wicket taker, behind seamer Daniel Sams.

He will spend the coming weeks in the UAE playing for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League, before returning to Pakistan for the T20 league's concluding stages.

"I wanted to play cricket and I wouldn't be able to play any cricket with Victoria if I was staying for the last couple of months of the summer,” he said.  

"The best option was to move on and to get some cricket over there (in the PSL) in the near future.

"If something happens regarding Australia or anything, that (playing in the PSL) would really help my cause as well because I'll be in touch with white-ball cricket."

Although he missed selection for the home summer and the upcoming ODI tour of India, Ahmed could come into contention for Australia's five-match ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE in March.

He is keeping realistic about his chances but said he would be ready if called upon.

"If I get selected against Pakistan, that would be great. I'm not expecting anything but if something came up, I've been bowling really well for the last few years," he said.

"Performance-wise I'm in a good position and fitness-wise I'm pretty good as well. If something like that came up, it'd be nice to play with my teammates again, otherwise I'm very grateful for what I've had over the last six-seven years here in Victoria."