Wayne Par­nell parts ways with Proteas

Crick­eter Wayne Par­nell has re­tired from the Proteas to take up a three-year con­tract with an English county side

DRUM - - Contents - BY THOLAKELE MNGANGA

HE’S been a pow­er­ful player in South Africa’s limited- overs side since turn­ing pro – but now the Proteas will have to do with­out all- rounder Wayne Par­nell. The 29-yearold shocked fans when he re­cently an­nounced his re­tire­ment from the na­tional team as part of a lu­cra­tive deal he’s pur­su­ing over­seas.

Wayne has joined English side Worces­ter­shire on a three-year Kol­pak con­tract fol­low­ing his win­ning per­for­mance for the county dur­ing the re­cent T20 Blast.

“I was orig­i­nally only sup­posed to be here for a short stint play­ing some T20 cricket and cham­pi­onship cricket,” he tells DRUM.

“I won the T20 com­pe­ti­tion with Worces­ter­shire, then CEO Matt Rawns­ley called me about the pos­si­bil­ity of a long-term deal.”

It wasn’t a de­ci­sion he took lightly. As a Kol­pak player Wayne for­feits his right to play for his coun­try dur­ing the length of his deal. Yet the all-rounder, who has been side­lined by the Proteas for the last two years fol­low­ing a shoul­der in­jury, can’t be hap­pier with his choice.

“I’m still go­ing to be do­ing the thing I love do­ing: play­ing cricket.”

The Port El­iz­a­beth-born player has played six Tests, 65 ODIs and 40 T20Is dur­ing his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer. He turned pro­fes­sional in Oc­to­ber 2006, mak­ing his cricket de­but at 17 for East­ern Prov­ince against South Western Dis­tricts.

Since then he’s played for the War­riors and Cape Co­bras, and has had spells abroad with English sides Kent, Sus­sex and Glam­or­gan. Wayne has also rep­re­sented Pune War­riors and Delhi Dare­dev­ils in the In­dian Premier League.

BUT it’s his per­for­mance with the Proteas he’s most proud of. “Ev­ery sin­gle game I’ve played for my coun­try has been a high­light.” And his heart will al­ways be at home, he adds. “The most dis­ap­point­ing thing is we couldn’t get to the ICC [Cricket World Cup] fi­nals, but I’ll be watch­ing and spurring the boys on for the World Cup next year.”

In 2008 Wayne cap­tained South Africa at the U/19 Cricket World Cup. A year later he be­came the youngest player to be of­fered a con­tract with the Proteas at age 19.

The crick­eter, who once sported a man bun on the pitch, has de­vel­oped a thick skin in his years as a pro­fes­sional sports­man. Crit­i­cism doesn’t af­fect him as much as it did when he was younger.

“The older I got the more I re­alised they would love to be in my po­si­tion. What­ever one does in life – whether I was clean­ing toi­lets or run­ning a com­pany – peo­ple will al­ways have di­vided opin­ions.

“It’s the na­ture of peo­ple to project, so you just learn to let it fly over your head.”

He’s ex­cited about the next leg of his ca­reer. “I want to win tro­phies with the club and help the young play­ers achieve and be­come bet­ter sea­son af­ter sea­son.

“I just want to en­joy my cricket, game in and game out. I want to have fun un­til I hang up my boots.

Wayne will be joined in Eng­land by his blog­ger wife, Aisha Baker (28), and their 5-month-old son Khalid.

ABOVE: Wayne Par­nell and wife Aisha are mak­ing their way to a new life in Eng­land af­ter the cricket all-rounder signed a deal with Worces­ter­shire.

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