CAPE TOWN - The Proteas pace reserves have once again been hit with a Kolpak defector on Monday with Wayne Parnell joining the growing number of South African fast bowlers looking to pursue a career in the English County Championship.
Parnell has been playing for Worcestershire in the T20 Blast, where he picked up a championship-winning medal over the weekend under the captaincy of England all-rounder Moeen Ali. He has now opted to further his career at New Road in the long-term, thereby opting to effectively end his international career that consisted of six Tests, 65 ODIs and 40 T20Is.
Over the past 18 months, South Africa have lost the services of Kyle Abbott (Hampshire), Hardus Viljoen (Derbyshire) and Morne Morkel (Surrey), with the latter driving his county to the First-Class title in his first season at The Oval.
"This is probably the toughest decision I've had to make in my career," Parnell told ESPNcricinfo. "Of course this wasn't an overnight decision, it's a very difficult decision and I am fully aware and understand the pros and cons of it. I have always enjoyed playing for my country since making my debut. I'd like to thank everybody who has supported me through thick and thin, my family, my friends.
"Special mention must go to the Eastern Province and Warriors unions for taking a risk and giving a kid from the dusty streets of Booysen Park a chance play this wonderful game. To all of those people who dislike me for whatever reason I thank you as well, you've helped make me mentally and emotionally tougher."
Although Parnell lost his Cricket South Africa contract last season after a “career-threatening” injury curtailed his season, he was still contracted to the Cape Cobras for the new season and was expected to play a full part in all competitions.
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Your character is always tested during difficult circumstances, incredibly proud and happy for this guy next to me. Massive kahunas to help us win our first t20 trophy. 🍐🍐🍐 #character #winnersaregrinners #coyr #finalsday #vitalityblast
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It was also believed that he remained in Proteas coach Ottis Gibson’s plans for next year’s World Cup in England due to his left-arm swing bowling variation and all-round batting skills, despite Parnell saying he “the Proteas have moved passed me since I've not really had any communications since I had my injury and then not going to India for the 'A' tours was also another indication.”
"[I have] no regrets," he insisted. "This isn't an overnight decision like I've mentioned. The goalposts for me have shifted. I'm comfortable and content with my decision and the people in my corner are all fully supportive of my decision,” Parnell continued.