In ‘Blighty’

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA

WAYNE Par­nell, was in his ho­tel room on Satur­day night, hav­ing a cup of cof­fee, when he got a mes­sage to switch on the news.

“I was just re­lax­ing, and pack­ing, and then I saw it was kick­ing off,” he said of the events of Satur­day in Lon­don.

“The other guys were also pack­ing, but some were in the team room,” he ex­plained.

Kick­ing off is def­i­nitely one word for it, though there has been an un­usu­ally calm re­sponse from all eight teams after the se­cu­rity fears. One won­ders if the same ‘carry on’ ap­proach would have ap­plied if some­thing sim­i­lar had hap­pened in South Africa or Asia.

Play­ers within the Eng­land team, for ex­am­ple, have stayed away from tours on the ba­sis of se­cu­rity fears, but there has been no such re­ac­tion at the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

“It’s a per­sonal thing, but we go by what our se­cu­rity team ad­vise us,” Par­nell said.

“We are com­fort­able with their de­ci­sion, be­cause that is their role in the team. If they give us an in­struc­tion we trust them, just like if the coach tells us some­thing to do on the field,” he added.

Though he ad­mit­ted it wasn’t easy to push aside what is go­ing on around them, Par­nell and the Proteas have a mas­sive Group B game to ad­dress to­mor­row, when they play Pak­istan. Win there, and they are al­most cer­tain semi-fi­nal­ists, with a clash against im­pres­sive In­dia to de­cide who tops the group.

Left-armer Par­nell ad­mit­ted that there were some chal­lenges dur­ing the 96-run vic­tory over Sri Lanka, par­tic­u­larly up­front with the ball.

“I had 10 overs to com­plete, but the first five didn’t go to plan,” he said of Niroshan Dick­wella’s cav­a­lier start against him.

“It was about stay­ing in the mo­ment and stick­ing to the plan. I had suc­cess against him in South Africa, but some­times it doesn’t go your way,” he lamented.

He and the rest of the at­tack bounced back, and fin­ished in a hurry, in what must be a pre-cur­sor for the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion. Up next is Pak­istan, cricket’s eter­nal Jekyll and Hyde of­fer­ing.

On their day, they are un­touch­ables, but those are usu­ally fol­lowed by days when they are un­men­tion­ables. They were poor against In­dia, so its safe to say they will look to bounce back against the Proteas. It is in keep­ing with their wacky ways. “They are an un­pre­dictable team,” Par­nell said with a grin.

Al­most as un­pre­dictable as the weather in Eng­land. After sunny spells in the build up to the tour­na­ment, Blighty is wear­ing it’s grim, grey coat again, with tem­per­a­tures dip­ping into the teens, and driz­zle hang­ing about in Birm­ing­ham.

South Africa had a re­laxed ses­sion yes­ter­day, with the likes of Par­nell and Chris Mor­ris hav­ing an ex­tended hit in the nets, while Kagiso Rabada also put in a shift.

Things will be cranked up today, and they will hope for sunny skies and, per­haps, a touch of the pre­dictable from Pak­istan come Wed­nes­day.

Don’t bank on ei­ther, though.

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