Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
11 Nov 2021
5:58 pm

Another chance: Wayne Parnell eager to make Proteas return

Ken Borland

"I didn’t think I would ever play for South Africa again, but I am still young enough and I can contribute."

Wayne Parnell has been recalled to the Proteas squad for their ODI series against the Netherlands. Picture: Gallo Images

Back in the Proteas fold for the first time in four years, 32-year-old all-rounder Wayne Parnell admits his recall was most unexpected, as his focus this summer has purely been on shepherding the young players in the Western Province team.

Parnell is the first former Kolpak player to be chosen for the national squad since the end of that talent-draining ruling in January 2020. It may just be for a three-match ODI series against the Netherlands, with several first-choice players being rested, but given how well he has performed with both bat and ball for Western Province, Parnell could well add his name to the serious discussions over all-rounder spots.

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“For me it’s been a crazy journey over the last couple of years,” Parnell said on Thursday.

“I didn’t set out to come back and play for the Proteas, I was just trying to add value for Western Province, help the younger guys.

“I had no expectation. I didn’t think I would ever play for South Africa again, but I am still young enough and I can contribute.

“I’ve only spoken to Victor Mpitsang (convenor of selectors) about where I fit in and opportunities going forward. I still have to sit down with Mark Boucher (head coach) and understand what they’re thinking, but I cannot turn down my country. And if I play well then maybe I will play against India.”

The former SA U-19 captain and leading wicket-taker at the 2008 U-19 World Cup is one of South Africa’s great unfulfilled talents, despite playing six Tests, 65 ODIs and 40 T20s for the Proteas.

Wayne Parnell
Wayne Parnell in action for Western Province in the CSA T20 Knock Out competition. Picture: Gallo Images

But he says he is finding more enjoyment in playing now, and any previous mismanagement lies in the past.

“I’m more experienced now and I know how to deal with different circumstances,” Parnell said.

“I’ve been enjoying playing different roles and having more freedom. International cricket is different because there is a lot more competition for places.

“Now I look at the game completely differently and I feel comfortable with what I can bring to any team and I’m not worried about being better than the guy next to me.

“There were a lot of different factors to my career, but I don’t look back. Yes, a lot of things could have been done differently, but I don’t blame anyone. Maybe it will be better this time.”