Parnell puts frustration aside
Pune - It has been a frustrating 12-month period for Wayne Parnell ever since he broke down with a freak injury while warming up for his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for the Delhi Daredevils in March last year.
It caused him to miss the 2010 edition of the ICC World Twenty20 as well as South Africa’s full tour of the West Indies that followed.
One of the consequences of this was to push him back in the selection queue behind Lonwabo Tsotsobe who has become a regular choice in all three formats and has been outstanding in the two limited overs versions of the game.
Another consequence was that, although he remained a regular member of the Proteas’ squad, he got very little game time either for the national side or for his Warriors franchise.
Now the opportunity for regular cricket has finally arrived at his new IPL franchise, the Pune Warriors.
He has again laid out his stall as a genuine wicket-taker and, after two rounds of this year’s competition, is the joint second leading wicket-taker behind Sri Lanka’s outstanding Lasith Malinga.
Wednesday night’s outing against the Kochi Tuskers was probably the best Parnell has bowled since his injury. He took 3/5 in two overs up front and that included the important wickets of VVS Laxman (bowled) and Mahela Jayawardena (caught behind off the inside edge). He would not have been pleased with his closing over but he nevertheless returned good figures of 3/35.
This was more like the Parnell who offered South Africa so much potential that made him one of the leading wicket-takers in two major tournaments in 2009 – the ICC Twenty20 in which he took career-best figures of 4/9 against the West Indies and the ICC Champions’ Trophy.
Parnell’s return to somewhere near his best is good news for the Proteas. The attrition rate among genuine fast bowlers is always high and the fact that South Africa now have all of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Tsotsobe and Parnell performing well offers a lot of encouragement for the tough battles ahead.
One of Parnell’s problems – as it was for a long time for Morkel as well – was the fact that he came into the Proteas’ set-up at a young age and is still very inexperienced. Last season was typical for Parnell in that he played just one SuperSport Series match and another one for Eastern Province in their three-day competition.
As he approaches his 22nd birthday he has played only 25 first-class matches plus another 80 in the two limited overs formats.
That is why the best news to emerge both for Parnell and South African cricket is that he will play county cricket for Sussex in the second half of 2011. In the mean time an extended period with the Pune Warriors will help to get his career continuing on an upward curve.