Parnell to fight for position?
Johannesburg – In just two one-day games and two Twenty20 matches, Ryan McLaren has ousted Proteas teenage sensation Wayne Parnell.
The versatile man from Bloemfontein made his debut for the Proteas in the recent series against Zimbabwe and also played in South Africa’s two Twenty20 games against England.
He is set to keep his place in the national team for the one-day series against England, even though Parnell has recovered from his ankle injury.
Sport24 has learned that McLaren made such an impression with his performances over the last few weeks that Parnell will have to fight to get his place back.
This in spite of the left-arm seamer making an impression on the cricketing world after making his debut for South Africa against Australia at the beginning of the year.
Parnell has been struggling with an ankle injury for the past two weeks, which gave McLaren the opportunity to make his debut just a few months after ending a lucrative Kolpak contract with English county side Kent.
Proteas coach Mickey Arthur and captain Graeme Smith are big fans of Parnell, who can give the Proteas’ predictable bowling attack an added dimension with his swing bowling.
“Wayne is a very special player and gives us various options we would not ordinarily have,” said Arthur.
“However, his injury let the door open for Ryan and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands.”
He added that the competition for places in the South African team is a “pleasant headache”, though no final decisions have been taken about the line-up for Friday’s first one-day game at the Wanderers.
“It’s the ideal position to be in – to have to choose between two players of the quality of Wayne and Ryan. It is part of the reason why we were so successful the past two years,” said Arthur.
“The same happened with Ashwell Prince at the end of last year (during the Test series against Australia).”
The Cape batsman was injured on the eve of the first Test in Perth and replaced by JP Duminy.
“JP has not put a foot wrong since and virtually assured himself of a place in the starting line-up. That is how things should be. If you lose your place, there has to be another player who can simply step in,” said Arthur.
Meanwhile, it seems unlikely that there will be a place in the team for spinner Johan Botha.
The Proteas’ regular vice-captain in one-day games is having a difficult season since the International Cricket Council banned him from bowling the doosra earlier this year.
Roelof van der Merwe is likely to be the only recognised spinner in the South African XI, while Duminy may also be used if the pitches are advantageous to spinners.
Likely SA team: Graeme Smith (captain), Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Alviro Petersen, Albie Morkel, Mark Boucher, Ryan McLaren, Roelof van der Merwe, Dale Steyn, Charl Langeveldt.