Windies to open Australian tour Jan. 29

SYDNEY, Australia, CMC-West Indies cricketers will warm-up for their five-match One Day international series against Australia with a game against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra on January 29 local time. Darren Sammy’s men will open their tour challenging an Australian side that includes an Afghanistan refugee, an Indian-born fast bowler and a top order batsman born in Pakistan. Cricket authorities in Australia have been keen to play-up the selection of the three players as reflecting the cultural diversity that exists in the country.

“The PM’s XI game is a special fixture on the Australian cricketing calendar,” said chairman of Australia’s national selection panel John Inverarity. “It provides a unique opportunity for many of our most talented and promising cricketers to showcase their skills”.

Emerging Leg spinner Fawad Ahmed, fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu, and batsman Usman Khawaja have been named in the Prime Minister’s X1 being skippered by former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.  Ahmed, who was granted asylum to live in Australia last year, claims he has received death threats from Muslim extremists in Pakistan because of the perception that cricket promotes Western values. “Fawad is playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the T20 Big Bash League and grade club Melbourne University, and we are encouraged by his ongoing development,” Inverarity said.

“We have also been very pleased with the progress of Indian-born fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu, who has performed well for the Sydney Thunder following strong performances for Australia in last year’s Under 19 World Cup.”

West Indies opening tour match against the Prime Ministers XI will be the first official game to be played under the new lights at Manuka Oval. The first ODI against Australia takes place at the WACA in Perth January 31 local time.

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