AUSTRALIAN opening batsman Ed Cowan was thrilled to make his maiden Test century against South Africa at the Gabba on Monday.
But he was even more pleased yesterday when Immigration Minister Chris Bowen granted a permanent visa to Pakistani refugee Fawad Ahmed.
The 33-year-old, who fled his homeland in 2010 after being persecuted by religious extremists for playing and coaching cricket, has been living in Australia on a bridging visa.
His claim for refugee status was rejected in August, leaving ministerial intervention as his only hope of staying in the country.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland was one of many cricket identities who wrote to Mr Bowen in support of Ahmed's appeal.
Cowan has been a mentor and friend of Ahmed during his time in Australia, which has seen him bowl to the Aussie players in the nets in preparation for the first Test, and be appointed as Cricket Victoria's multicultural liaison officer.
"We often see considerable negativity surrounding asylum seekers, so it's incredibly pleasing that an educated, skilful and compassionate young man like Fawad has been given the chance to make a life for himself in Australia," Cowan said.
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