A self-described day-dreamer, Fawad Ahmed says the prospect of playing in a World Cup on home soil is a key motivator as he looks to push his playing days beyond his 40th birthday.
The remarkable career of Fawad took another turn today when he signed a two-year contract with the Perth Scorchers, his third KFC BBL franchise.
The leg-spinner will be 39 by the time his Scorchers deal ends, but he’s bullish about playing beyond that and into his forties.
And he’s using the lure of next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia as extra incentive as he embarks on a marathon season on the T20 franchise circuit.
"I'm still hoping to play in next year's World Cup in Australia," he told cricket.com.au. "I'm not giving up.
"That’s how things work in this world; you live on hope and there’s always hope. I'm a day dreamer. I'd love it to happen, but if it doesn't, that's not a problem."
An eternal optimist, Fawad has never been shy of spruiking himself for higher honours, despite it being almost six years since the last of his five internationals for his adopted country.
His decision to retire from first-class cricket earlier this year was partly motivated by the hope that he could force his way into Australia's squad for the current 50-over World Cup, a dream that was scuppered by the strong form of spin rivals Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon on the recent tours of Asia.
Despite the setback, he's unapologetic about resetting his focus on the T20 World Cup in October next year, the only major tournament Australia have never won.
"This is just how I am," he says. "This is always in my mind; to hope for something and set goals. That carries me on.
"If something comes up to represent my country, especially in Australia, that’d be really nice. But I’m just enjoying myself, there's no pressure of selection.
"I thought there might be a chance (of playing in the World Cup this year), but Adam Zampa and Lyono bowled really well.
"Not everything happens the way you want. That’s how things work in this world."
Fawad’s move west to the Scorchers after four seasons at the Sydney Thunder, with whom he won a BBL title in 2016, comes ahead of busy nine-month period that will see him play in at least four domestic T20 leagues around the world.
He will return to the Global T20 Canada league next month before heading to the Caribbean to join the St Lucia Stars in the CPL, having been the leading wicket-taker in Trinbago’s title-winning run last season. His first summer with the Scorchers will be coupled with a return to the Pakistan Super League over the 2019-20 season, while stints in the South African, Afghan and T10 leagues are also on his radar.
And after some confidence-boosting discussions with national selector Trevor Hohns and coach Justin Langer in recent months, he says a packed season of T20 cricket will have him primed for a return to the national side – if the call comes.
"They said they’ll never say no, there’s always a chance if you perform well," he said. "It’s better to be ready rather than having to get ready."
The recruitment of Fawad continues the personnel changes at the Scorchers after the competition’s most successful franchise finished at the bottom of the ladder last season.
Fawad joined fellow spinner Ashton Agar in signing a new deal today, while long-time Scorchers players Shaun Marsh (Melbourne Renegades) and Hilton Cartwright (Melbourne Stars) have already left the club in the off-season.