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
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.