To those not familiar with him, Moeen Ali Munir is an English cricketer. He is a left handed batsman and off-spin bowler and played county cricket for Warwickshire before moving to Worcestershire in 2006. The 25 year old, who is of Pakistani descent, signed for Warwickshire when he was 15, and won Warwickshire’s NBC Denis Compton Award in both 2004 and 2005.
It was a pleasure interviewing him for Hadith of the Day.
HOTD: What inspired you to take up professional cricket, where and how did it all start? Who had the greatest influence on you taking up cricket?
What inspired me to take up professional cricket was the fact that my dad and my uncle loved cricket and played in the local league. Also, my cousin and my brother played county cricket which was something I always wanted to do. It all started when I was 9 years old. I had a trial at Warwickshire CCC under 11s and got picked from there. My dad was the one who pushed me and helped me to work hard.
HOTD: What’s the secret to being a first class cricket player?
The secret is to work hard and enjoy playing first class cricket, and try and be as consistent as you can. Also give 100% every time.
HOTD: A typical day in the life of Moeen Ali. Tell us about it.
A typical day would involve me in prayer, training and reciting the Qur’an. I watch a lot of Islamic lectures, and also spend time with family and friends. Alhamdulillah.
HOTD: Would you describe yourself as a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder or a little of both. Tell us more.
At the moment, batting all rounder, but I think I’m slowly becoming more of a genuine all-rounder, Insha’Allah.
HOTD: Tell us about your move from Warwickshire to Worcestershire. What brought about that move?
The move was something I felt I needed to do in my life. It was a time when I had started to practice Islam more seriously, and felt I needed a fresh start. The move was also influenced by my cousin Kabir Ali, who was there, and I wanted to play with him too.
HOTD: We’ll let you blow the trumpet – tell us about your achievements and highlights of your cricket career. What are you most proud of?
Well I guess captaining England under 19s in a world cup was pretty special! Representing England through all the age groups and the Lions Alhamdulillah was also an achievement that I’m quite pleased with. Playing so many first class games is something I didn’t think I would have done so that also is pretty special, Alhamdulillah.
HOTD: You’ve won Warwickshire’s NBC Denis Compton Award in both 2004 and 2005. What are you goals next? What’s the next on the professional front?
Insha’Allah I would love to play international cricket. That’s my biggest goal. To do that I would have to be picked for the England Lions again Insha’Allah, and perform well.
HOTD: You maintain a professional and healthy routine. What are your favourite treats?
I have plenty. Alhamdulillah. I sometimes treat myself to a burger here and there. I love all fruits, which always make me think how fortunate we are to have all this and how tasty Allah has made it for us. Alhamdulillah.
HOTD: What, in your opinion, should be the priorities of a sportsman?
Hard work, passion and enjoyment. A healthy lifestyle is also very important and having a good balance in everything you do.
HOTD: Tell us about the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far. A tough bowler, a coach, anything that comes to mind when you think of challenge in the game.
There are always challenges when batting at a high level. Facing Steve Harmison in 2006 was the quickest I ever faced anyone and really got me going. Was a great experience.
HOTD: Who are your favourite international cricket players?
Brian Lara for me was the best player I had ever seen. But in this day and age I would say Hashim Amla for many reasons.
HOTD: Your words of advice and wisdom to young aspiring cricket players.
To enjoy and work hard at your game. And always fear Allah.
HOTD: Everyone has a sports hero that they take inspiration from and aspire to be like. Who is that for you and why?
Mohammad Ali and Hashim Amla. Obviously for being Muslims and being such good sportsmen. They inspired me to play sport showed that it was possible to practice Islam at the same time. Alhamdulillah.
HOTD: As a Muslim, what is or has been the biggest challenge of combining sports with practicing religion, especially in a country where Islam is not the official religion. How do you manage career and duties as a Muslim?
It is not as hard as people think! Especially where I play at Worcester, they are all very tolerant and understanding. I think as long as you can explain why we Muslims do certain things, they are understanding. But Insha’Allah, if you have faith in Allah, Allah makes it easy for you. Alhamdulillah.
HOTD: Your advice to young people who are under pressure to compromise their beliefs to be popular.
Insha’Allah, if you hold on to your Islamic beliefs and principles, Allah will give you more respect and you will become more popular. There is nothing better in this world than implementing Islam.
HOTD: Do you have a favourite masjid that you go to/have been to?
Makkah and Medina. I went to hajj a few years ago, Alhamdulillah it was the best thing I ever did. These masjids are unbelievable.
HOTD: Tell us about something that is very important to you that we didn’t cover.
My family and friends are very important to me. They too at some stage have had an influence on me.
HOTD: What is the one thing people should know about what you do, but don’t?
I coach cricket in the winter for my dad’s cricket academy, and while coaching we also try and give Da’wah to the younger generation.
HOTD: Tell us what you think about the positive role of Social Media in Islam.
I think it’s good, it’s a way of spreading Islam in a halal way and a way of getting rid of misconceptions about Islam.
HOTD: Do you use Hadith of the Day? If so, what do you love about it?
I came across Hadith of the Day a couple of years ago and love everything about it. Alhamdulillah.
HOTD: We have a 2.5 million audience from all over the world. What message would you like to give to them?
Give 100% of yourself to everything you do, hang on tightly to Allah’s rope, and He will take care of the rest.
HOTD: Moeen, you’re a great role model. We wish you all the best for the future, and we thank you for your time talking to HOTD.