On Friday (November 4), a video of Pakistani cricketer Ahmed Shehzad attempting to convert Sri Lankan cricket legend TM Dilshan to Islam went viral on social media.
A 21-second video clip of the incident was shared on Twitter by a user named Incognito X (@Incognito_jkl). “If you’re a non-Muslim and you become a Muslim, whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven,” Shehzad said.
Dilshan didn’t seem to heed the Pakistani cricketer’s comments. When the Sri Lankan legend finally responded (which was not captured by the microphone), Ahmed Shehzad warned: “Then be ready for the (hell)fire.”
Pakistan Cricket Team has 11 maulvis not 11 cricketers pic.twitter.com/VH9VJcjG30
— Incognito X (@Incognito_jkl) Nov 4, 2022
Reflecting on the Pakistan cricketer’s on-field conversion, the Twitter user wrote: “Pakistan Cricket Team has 11 maulvis (clerics), not 11 cricketers.”
The origin of the viral video
Dating back to August 30, 2014, the viral video was shot during the 3rd ODI match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The match was hosted at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium by the island nation.
In the 50-over encounter, Sri Lanka sent Pakistan away for a paltry score of 102. TM Dilshan scored an unbeaten half-century and the hosts won the match by 7 wickets (in keeping with the Duckworth-Lewis method).
Although Dilshan has not made a formal complaint, an official investigation was launched by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). According to reports, TM Dilshan was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother.
After his international debut in 1999, he dropped his Muslim name ‘Tuwan Mohamed Dilshan’. Thereafter, Sri Lankan legend adopted his mother’s Sinhala Buddhist identity under the name of Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan.
Likewise, many other Pakistani cricketers, mainly former players such as Inzamam-ul-Haq, Saeed Anwar, Muhammad Yusuf, Saqlain Mushtaq and others, have taken up Islamic preaching after announcing their retirement. Some of them have remained associated with cricket in some capacity, but that does not stop them from routinely holding sessions to preach Islamic religious scriptures.
Mohammad Rizwan calls on Allah in match against the Netherlands
Being openly religious and becoming an Islamic scholar is not just reserved for the former Pakistani cricketers, for whom economic opportunities are scarce after putting up their stalls in a country highly polarized by Islamic extremism. Even the current crop of cricketers has shown an evangelical zeal to convert the infidels and propagate their religion.
For example, Mohammad Rizwan, the prolific runner for Pakistan, was one of the most ardent supporters of the spread of Islam. Former Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden, who was appointed batting coach of the Pakistan cricket team for the 2021 T20 World Championship, had made a surprising revelation in November 2021 when he said that Mohammad Rizwan had given him an English version of a copy of the Quran. .
About the moment he got the book, Hayden said: “It was Rizzy (Mohammad Rizwan) and I have to say it was a beautiful moment that I will never forget. I am curious about Islam even though I am a Christian. One follows Christ and the other Mohammed and will never meet in a sense, but he gave me an English version of the Quran. We sat on the floor for half an hour and talked about it. I read a bit of it every day. Rizzy is one of my favorite individuals, a champion human.”
More recently, Rizwan was caught using a blunt mic while telling a Dutch player that he believed in Allah and not the game situation. Rizwan reportedly made the comments during the match between Pakistan and the Netherlands, played on October 30 during the ongoing T20 World Championship in Australia. Pakistan is currently third on the points list and is almost certain to return home without qualifying for the semi-finals.
Stupid microphone! @iMRizwanPak 🗣 to the Dutch wicketkeeper” I believe in ALLAH, not the game situation. #PAKvsNED #T20WorldCup
— Saeed Anwar (@ImSaeedAnwar) October 30, 2022
Not only this, Rizwan is also known for taking time off from his busy cricket schedule and preaching Islam in mosques and madarsas. Several videos of the cricketer preaching Islam and his teachings distilled from the Quran have gone viral on the internet.
Mohd Rizwan @iMRizwanPak preaches Islam. Mash Allah pic.twitter.com/LlUHZ0A6Yb
— Nadira Mushtaque Syed (@naadiisporty) December 31, 2021
Muhammad Rizwan preaches Islam in a Melbourne mosque. pic.twitter.com/X8Rj5NPN0b
— Maham Fatima (@MahamOfficial_2) October 20, 2022
In fact, not only in Pakistan, Rizwan also finds time to preach Islam on international trips abroad. Recently, social media websites were flooded with a video of him preaching Islam in a Melbourne mosque during the Pakistan cricket team’s World Cup campaign.