CAPE TOWN - Wayne Parnell has admitted the injuries that have plagued his career are “frustrating”.
The Proteas and Cape Cobras all-rounder is now 28 - eight years ago back in January 2009 he made his international debut as a freckle-faced teenager - and is yet to cement a regular place in the national team across all formats.
While there are numerous reasons for this, such as a lack of consistent opportunities or poor form due to limited game time, Parnell has also endured wretched luck in terms of injuries.
The recent series against Bangladesh would have been a perfect opportunity for Parnell to excel in the absence of more senior bowlers such as Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, but instead of working on impressing new Proteas coach Ottis Gibson, he was in rehab in Cape Town after suffering a groin injury.
However, Parnell has now fully recovered from his latest setback, and is looking to add some impetus to the Cobras’ T20 Challenge campaign, starting on Friday against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers (6pm start).
“It is frustrating. Ideally, you want to be fit and play all the time. I also think, though, you have to be realistic that these things happen.
"It is all part of the profession. If you put your body through these stresses all the time then injuries do tend to happen,” Parnell said.
“But for me, it is all about going back and putting in the hard work and making sure you come back stronger. That’s ultimately the only thing I can control.
"I have had good rehab over the last couple of weeks and been working nicely with Shane Jabaar trying to get me fit.
"I’ve been doing lots of work in the gym, trying to get my groin and core a lot stronger.”
Although often under-valued at national level, Parnell is certainly highly regarded at the Cobras. The former Eastern Cape all-rounder has made a massive contribution to the Cobras, including making a clean sweep of the franchise's awards in the 2016-17 season.
He was particularly good that season in the T20 Challenge - he was promoted to open in the innings.
Parnell struck a career-best 99 at the Bullring, but with Richard Levi and Hashim Amla available at the moment he may have to wait his chance.
“I think we need to see what unfolds at the weekend. For me, it’s about being flexible and doing whatever is needed. I have always had the team’s interests ahead of my interests,” Parnell said.
"If I am needed up the order, or down the order, the captain and coach will have the final say, and for me it is just about being ready to go wherever needed."