DAVID Campese, the legendary former Australia rugby star, has sparked a row after suggesting Pakistan-born cricketer Fawad Ahmed should “go home”.
Ahmed was given Australian citizenship in July and made his debut in the recent Twenty20 series in England, going on to play in last Tuesday’s one-day international against Scotland.
During those games the spinner did not wear the logo of brewing company VB on his shirt, with Cricket Australia explaining team officials had agreed to allow him not to wear the logo due to his religious beliefs. Ahmed is Muslim.
That sparked some controversy Down Under with former Australia batsman Doug Walters telling Sydney’s Daily Telegraph: “I think if he doesn’t want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team.”
Campese then tweeted his approval of Walters’ view, saying: “Doug Walters tells Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed: if you don’t like the VB uniform, don’t play for Australia. Well said doug. Tell him to go home”. And when a fellow Twitter user suggested that his “go home” comment could be considered racist, 50-year-old Campese replied: “well why did he come to Aussie for in the first place. A better life? Now he is telling people what he wants!”
CA chief executive James Sutherland released a statement on Tuesday condemning remarks that had surfaced about Ahmed on social media. “Cricket Australia would like to express its extreme disappointment over racist comments towards Fawad Ahmed on social media this afternoon, some of which are falsely attributed to former Australian cricketer Dean Jones,” read the statement. “CA is fully supportive of Fawad’s personal beliefs and he is a valued and popular member of the Australian team.”