Protea cricketer Wayne Parnell has embraced the Islamic faith.
This was confirmed by national team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee. “It was his choice to embrace Islam,” confirmed Moosajee.
Christened Wayne Dillon Parnell, the left-handed Eastern Province bowler who is also a useful lower order batsman, took the cricketing scene by storm when he captained the SA U19 squad at the 2008 World Cup.
Under 19 coach Ray Jennings tipped Parnell then to step into the shoes of Shaun Pollock.
He became the youngest South African to be awarded a Proteas contract in 2009. Parnell turns 22 on Saturday.
An SMS doing its rounds on Monday attributed his conversion to the influence of fellow Protea players Hashim Amla and Imraan Tahir.
However, Amla’s agent Ismail Kajee said it was not true that the ODI vice-captain had any influence in Parnell’s decision to convert to Islam.
According to the SMS, Parnell’s Islamic name is Whallid, meaning “the great one”.
While acknowledging Parnell’s conversion, Moosajee said he would continue to use his christened name.
Parnell, nicknamed Pigeon, is currently playing county cricket for Sussex in England.
He also turns out for Pune Warriors in the IPL and the Chevrolet Warriors in domestic franchise cricket.
He is expected to observe his first fast for the holy month of Ramadan which begins on Monday.
Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. - The Post