South African left-arm paceman Wayne Parnell converted to Islam, according to his statement to media on Thursday.
The conversion to Islam came after his quest for the right path and he converted to Islam in January 2011, a fact he made public on 28th July,2011. He has changed his name to Wayne Whallid Parnell. He celebrated his 22nd birthday on Friday as a Muslim.
It seems Islam is a faith Proteas cricketer Wayne Parnell has “always been interested in”.The cricketer born 30 July 1989 in Port Elizabeth and has played Tests, One Day International and Twenty20 matches for South Africa.Moreover he has also played for Kent in county and for Delhi DareDevils and Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League. Currently he is playing for English county Sussex.
“Wayne decided to follow Islam a couple of months ago,” said Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee and he also rejected rumours that Parnell was “influenced” by team-mates Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir to adopt the religion.Several of Parnell’s team-mates said on Wednesday that he is “dead-serious” about changing his religion and since the Indian Premier League he hasn’t consumed alcohol at all.
This was really a change in style, in past he usually use to party till early hours of night and was also dropped from of the Warriors’ side after he partied until the early hours of the morning in a Port Elizabeth nightclub during the team’s SuperSport series match against the Dolphins in October 2009.
However Wayne said “I will continue to respect the team’s endorsement of alcoholic beverages. I am playing cricket in Sussex and this is my immediate focus,“, as opposed to Hashim Amla who does not wear such logos due to the reason of it being in direct conflict with his Islamic views.”As I am approaching my first period of fasting, I ask that this special time is treated with respect. I am a young man, a professional cricketer by trade, and while I can appreciate and am grateful for the public interest in my personal life, my faith choice is a matter which I would like to keep private,” he added.
He is the second Christian to have reverted to Islam after Pakistan’s Yousuf Yohana (now Mohammad Yousuf) in 2006.
As regards other sports many notable sportsmen have embraced Islam including:
- Renowned American basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (formerly Lew Alcindor)
- Abdul Karim al-Jabbar (famous US footballer)
- Brazilian football players Marcio Souza De Silva and Muhammad Danilo Fernando
- French football players Eric Abidal, Franck Ribery (now Tarek) and Nicolas Anelka
- Dutch footballer Robin van Persie
- Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand rugby union player and a heavyweight boxer)
- Most importantly American boxers Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali Clay.