Last night will be a night that 19 year old Tom Craig will remember for a very long time, as he made is debut for the Kookaburras in the second Test against India in Perth; a game that saw the World number one side lose for the first tim win 2014.
Yet it was not memorable from that perspective for Craig, but more so because he was due to make his debut 24 hours earlier, except only when he was about to be announced in the squad was it realised that he did not have an Australian passport. Despite living in Sydney he was holding a New Zealand passport through his parents. The FIH would therefore not accept his selection and a mad scramble ensued to ensure that an Australian passport was issued so that he could make his much awaited debut 24 hours later.
One has to question why no one had realised until this very late stage that a player identified as a future Kookaburra did not hold an Australian passport. Surely someone would have realised that he would need such a document to play for Australia? The one thing his debut showed is that the Immigration department can move quickly when it has to, or when the right people are pulling the strings, as is believed to have happened in this case.
Interestingly a similar thing happened with a visa player at Perth Glory, with his permanent residency being pushed through before the required qualifying period that most others would have had to endure.
One can’t help thinking of those poor souls who are spending as much as two years in Australian Immigration Detention facilities waiting for their applications to be processed. Maybe they should push their sporting prowess when they lodge their paperwork or bring a hockey stick or cricket bat with them, and then they may find the process expedited.
Should sporting stars be afford such preferential treatment? Should Government ministers or ex members of parliament who have been entertained by various sporting bodies in their time in office be using their influence in such cases? After all it is only a game and not a matter of life and death.
It was great to see the young and talented Craig make his debut at senior level, but the manner in which it was achieved will no doubt upset many. Being just 19 years of age there would also be many who would state time is on his side and that he could easily have waited the normal time it takes to gain an Australian passport, just like the average man on the street.