South Africa celebrate after taking a wicket against Sri Lanka. Photo: Reuters / Peter Cziborra

BIRMINGHAM – 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.”

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 on Wednesday (2.30pm start, SA time), 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 and the rest of the bowling 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 it’s 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.

South Africa had a relaxed session on Monday, 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 on Tuesday, and they will hope for sunny skies and, perhaps, a touch of the predictable from Pakistan come Wednesday.

Don’t bank on either, though.

The Mercury

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