3 Cricketers who changed their names
Back in September 2005, it was known that Pakistan batsman Yousuf Youhana converted from Christianity to Islam. The Lahore-born batsman was henceforth known as Mohammad Yousuf. Back then, he was the only Christian in the country’s national team.
His wife Fatima also converted with Yousuf, but it was the decided that he wouldn’t go public with the issue for some family reasons. About converting, Yousuf said that it was choice after attending preaching sessions of Tablighi Jamaat, Pakistan’s largest non-political religious grouping.
It also included his former teammate Saeed Anwar as one of its members. As per Pakistan’s newspapers, his parents were outraged, so much so that his mother said that she didn’t want to give Yousuf her name after what he had done.
Tillakaratne Dilshan decided to choose the path of Buddha in the year 1999. Back in 1976, he was born in a Muslim family and his name was Tuwan Mohammad Dilshan. His father belonged to the Islam following Malay group.
After his parents got separated, the Kalutara-born changed his religion to that of his mother, Buddhism. His initials TM have since stood for Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage. Dilshan’s childhood coach Ranjan Paranavitana mentioned that even though the former cricketer carried a Muslim name, he and his brothers and sisters followed their mother’s religion from their childhood.
It was in 1999 when Dilshan made his international debut and his illustrious career lasted as many as 17 years. His last outing for Sri Lanka was versus Australia in Colombo in September 2016.
Back in August 2018, former Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan changed his name. Previously, the Kabul-born batsman was known as Asghar Stanikzai and he decided to change his surname. On being asked about the same, he said that he was pleased to have included the word ’Afghan’ beside his name.
He also stated that it is the national duty of the Afghans to protect their national identity. The decision became official when Afghan registered for the new Electronic National Identity Cards (E-tazkira). Later the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) had also posted about the change of name on their official Twitter handle.
He is one of the national cricket team’s highest capped players, having plied his trade since 2009, the very year when Afghanistan got the ODI status for the maiden time.