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Ken Borland

Parnell focus on shepherding WP youngsters, but now back in Proteas squad

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Ken

Wayne Parnell is back in the Proteas fold for the first time in four years with the 32-year-old all-rounder saying on Thursday that 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 from which several first-choice players are 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.

“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,” Parnell said.

The former SA U19 captain and leading wicket-taker at the 2008 U19 World Cup is one of South Africa’s great unfulfilled talents, despite playing six Tests, 65 ODIs and 40 T20s for the Proteas.

But he said on Thursday that he has been able to find more enjoyment in playing now and any past mismanagement lay in the past.

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

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