Par­nell’s got the ball, must de­liver it right for SA

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

THE big­gest win­ner of the reshuf­fle in the Proteas pace pack has no doubt been Wayne Par­nell, A month ago, he was on the pe­riph­ery of the squad, and look­ing very much like spend­ing most this month play­ing do­mes­tic cricket, and wait­ing for an in­jury to a mem­ber of the na­tional squad.

And yet, as he looks ahead to 2017, the Western Prov­ince and Co­bras man knows that the ball is well and truly in his left hand, and it is now down to him to de­liver it where his team needs it most.

His form has got pro­gres­sively bet­ter, his in­flu­ence grow­ing with each pass­ing spell.

Skip­per AB de Villiers was ful­some in his praise for the left-armer, not­ing that he was start­ing to find the shape that makes him an al­to­gether more omi­nous prospect with the new ball.

“It was a nice start (in Port El­iz­a­beth), and I was happy to con­trib­ute to the team,” Par­nell said of his 3/48 re­turn in Satur­day’s win over Sri Lanka down the coast. Par­nell gave South Africa the per­fect start with the ball on Satur­day, and his per­for­mances are viewed with more scru­tiny be­cause he is the fron­trun­ner in a po­si­tion that is very key.

Ever since Kyle Ab­bott re­vealed that he was no longer a part of the Proteas’ plans in the first week of the year, the na­tional team has been on the look­out for some­one who can start and fin­ish the in­nings of with ball, in ca­hoots with Kag­iso Rabada.

Andile Phehluk­wayo has shown po­ten­tial, but is still learn­ing.

The KwaZulu-Na­tal young­ster has also just re­turned from a big in­jury.

And so, the shoes are there for Par­nell to fill in the way he sees fit, as long as he can also stay free from the treat­ment ta­ble.

“We have a big se­ries in New Zealand af­ter this,” he pointed out.

Nat­u­rally, Par­nell will ex­pect to play a big part in the next few months for the Proteas, es­pe­cially with the white-ball for­mat be­com­ing the main pri­or­ity in the build-up to the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

Fi­nally, game time will not be an is­sue, it seems.

“That is the key thing for any pro­fes­sional. Go­ing on tour, and get­ting a game here and there doesn’t have the same ef­fect as play­ing reg­u­larly. Play­ing un­der those pres­sures reg­u­larly has been ben­e­fi­cial for me over the last few months,” he em­pha­sised.

Par­nell has got to this point on the back of some solid do­mes­tic form for the Co­bras, so he was more than ready to step up when Ab­bott stepped out.

“In do­mes­tic cricket, I was ob­vi­ously fig­ur­ing out what to do to get back into the na­tional team and then stay here.

It’s been go­ing nicely over the last few months, so I just need to keep do­ing what I was do­ing for the past two or three sea­sons,” he ex­plained.

The tall left-armer may have had a qui­eter time of it in the Test se­ries, but it has al­ways been the shorter for­mats that he was marked as a man who could win matches of sig­nif­i­cance for his coun­try.

Lest we for­get, Par­nell is also a more than handy op­tion with the bat in hand down the or­der.

Former South African cap­tain Shaun Pol­lock joked with Par­nell that he should per­haps be pro­moted up the or­der to pinch-hit.

The south­paw all-rounder took the chal­lenge to coach Rus­sell Domingo, but the big chief didn’t bite. Well, not yet any­way! Par­nell has do­mes­tic hun­dreds un­der his belt, and he may yet flex his shoul­ders on the ul­ti­mate stage.

That will be his and Domingo’s plan, of course.

If he can main­tain his out­put with the ball, the Proteas may find them­selves hav­ing stum­bled upon an­other all-rounder op­tion to beef up re­sources that were get­ting scarcer just a year ago.

It’s funny how the game works it­self out some­times.

South Africa play Sri Lanka in the sec­ond One Day In­ter­na­tional at Dur­ban’s Kingsmead to­mor­row af­ter­noon.

The game starts at 1.30pm.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.