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Parnell: ‘I want to return later in the season’

Wednesday 20th May 2009


star Wayne Parnell has told the Kent website that he wants to return to the Club later this summer after returning to his native South Africa on international duty. The left-arm quick has returned home to prepare for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup. He made a big impact during his initial month and clearly wants to come back to Kent: ‘I“ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I definitely want to come back. I“m pleased that the club wants to keep me. I guess it depends on Cricket South Africa and visas but if given the go-ahead then I would love to come back and hopefully get Kent back into the first division of the County Championship. Coming here there was pressure on me to perform, as the overseas pro, so I tried to be positive from the start as my goal was to do well for Kent and learn all about the English conditions. I would like to think I achieved both.“

The 19-year-old settled instantly into life at St Lawrence and says his fellow South Africans must take lots of praise for that: ‘It certainly helped having the likes of Martin (van Jaarsveld) and Justin (Kemp) in the dressing room. I didn“t really know them prior to coming here but I clearly benefited from them being around as it felt more comfortable for me. I don“t know how it would“ve been with all English guys in the dressing room but we have a good bunch and everyone made me really welcome during my short stay.“

Prior to his arrival, Parnell was noted for his bowling but not necessarily his batting. All that changed during his short spell with Kent as he explains: ‘When I was younger, I was a genuine all-rounder but my batting took a backseat as I concentrated more on my bowling. I used to bat at nine or ten but I knew I could improve and decided to work hard on it. It is starting to pay off and I have moved up the order; including batting at three in our FPT tie at Warwickshire earlier this week. I enjoyed my time in the middle for Kent and enjoyed scoring runs. The knock at Essex was special.“

Talking to Parnell, you get the feeling that he is desperate to succeed and he clearly has a bright future in the game. So how did he feel his initial spell at Kent went? ‘I felt I was pretty average in the Friends Provident Trophy but having played more four-day cricket, it was hard for me. Championship cricket is better for all-rounders because you get a chance to compete throughout the game and are not only limited to bowling ten overs. It“s hard to make up for a bad spell in limited overs cricket as you have to be on the money every single ball. In the four-day game you get more overs and a better chance with the bat too.“

During his spell with Kent, wicketkeeper Geraint Jones claimed that Parnell is up there with the quickest bowlers he has kept to. It is quite a compliment when you consider he has played with the likes of Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff and Morne Morkel. The South African is clearly pleased to be likened to those players, as he explains: ‘To be compared with those guys is pretty amazing and I thanks Jonesy for saying that! Having watched them in action, I know that they are pretty quick so it is a huge honour for me. I bowled a couple of quick spells at Essex. I wanted to be positive, as I felt really good, and it came out the hand well.“

Parnell made a lasting impression during his short spell with the Club and all concerned were impressed with the professionalism he showed: ‘For me personally, it was not a major change coming to a foreign country because I have experienced it many times before. I was at boarding school, as a youngster, so I am used to being away from home. I have also been away with the various representative teams so it wasn“t a major challenge. Throughout my time here, I was not thinking about going home. I made the most of my time with Kent and I would like to think that everything went well.“

So, after his successful time with Kent, what happens now for the likeable teenager? ‘I“m off to South Africa to meet up with the T20 World Cup squad. The tournament starts next month and I“m really looking forward to it. It will be my first World Cup so it would be lovely to win the tournament. I think we“ve got a good chance. We are the form team going into it and we have a very well balanced Twenty20 side. We have some good finishers, some good bowlers, and obviously lots of the guys have played lots of international cricket. As one of the younger players in the group, it“s important to share the experiences of the older guys and it“s good to learn from people that have done it over many years. I enjoy taking on advice from people as it will only help me develop on my cricketing journey.“

To finish the interview, Parnell wanted to pass on some personal thoughts to the Kent supporters: ‘Thanks for all of your help and encouragement during my short time with the club. It“s important now that you guys continue to keep backing the team because sport is a profession where there are ups and downs. If you supporters keep on backing the team then the players will perform that little bit better and that will lead to the success that we all want and deserve at Kent.“

Picture courtesy of Getty Images