According to a South African Newspaper Independent Online, Wayne Parnell has converted to Islamic faith. Proteas’ team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee confirmed the news by saying: “It was his choice to embrace Islam.” His Islamic name is Whallid (waleed) which means ‘great one’.
Wayne Parnell has the honour to represent South Africa at very tender age. He came to limelight when he captained South African Under-19 team in the U-19 World Cup in 2008. He was the youngest player to get a central contract in 2009 at the age of 20 years.
Influence of fellow Protea players Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir on his change of faith is not confirmed yet, although an SMS was circulating citing the possible role of these two. According to the Newspaper, Amla’s agent Ismail Kajee said it was not true that the ODI (vice) captain (sic) had any influence in Parnell’s decision to convert to Islam.
He may continue to use his Christian name while playing for his nation. As his first Ramadan is approaching where he is expected to observe his first ever fast, attempts to contact him weren’t successful.
In the current team, he will be the third Muslim after Hashim Amla and Pakistan-born Imran Tahir. South Africa being an open and tolerant society ensures that he continues to lead his life and pursue his career as he was doing before. Happy new life to Whallid Parnell!
He is the second Christian to have reverted to Islam after Pakistan’s Yousuf Yohana (now Mohammad Yousuf) in 2006.