ALL-ROUNDER Wayne Parnell has brought the curtain down on his international career 48 hours after the Rapids’ Vitality Blast triumph by penning a three-year deal to remain at New Road.
Parnell, 29, last played for South Africa in October 2017 against Bangladesh but lost his national contract earlier this year. He follows countrymen Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw in leaving international cricket behind in favour of becoming a ‘Kolpak’ player.
His new status means he can line up for Worcestershire next season as a non-overseas signing, freeing up space for the Pears to attract another overseas signing to join Callum Ferguson for the 2019 Vitality Blast campaign.
Parnell picked up one wicket on Finals Day with the final ball of the Sussex Sharks innings when he had Jofra Archer caught at mid-wicket and admitted the decision had been tough.
“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,” he told ESPN Cricinfo.
“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 to play this wonderful game.”
Parnell admitted he had been considering the move for almost a year during which time he has slipped out of South Africa’s teams across all formats and battled with injury.
“After my serious injury in January I had three to four months out and really had time to reflect and think about what I wanted for the rest of my career going forward,” he said.
“It was a very tough period in my life emotionally and mentally as it could potentially have been a career-ending injury and my wife was heavily pregnant with our first-born son so I had a lot going on.”
Parnell played six Tests, 65 ODIs and 40 T20Is during his international career. His six Tests were spread over seven years, having made his debut against England in early 2010. After three appearances he was out of the side for four years before a brief return followed by another three-year absence.
“I’m happy and I am comfortable with where I’m at and what I’m doing. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Worcestershire since joining up with them and I’m excited about my future with them,” he added.
Financially, the Kolpak deal will help bring Parnell security and he wants to explore the opportunities in T20 leagues around the world. He was part of the Global T20 in Canada earlier this year and already has a deal to play in the upcoming Afghanistan Cricket League in Sharjah.
“I can’t really predict what the future holds but I’m excited by it at the same time. I’ve never really had the October to March window open to explore the different T20 leagues so that could potentially be in the pipeline.
“Cricket has taken me to some amazing places and I’ve been lucky to meet some incredible people along the way. The journey continues but now in a slightly different manner.”