South African pacer Wayne Parnell has effectively brought an end to his international cricket by signing a Kolpak deal with Worcestershire, calling it to be the “toughest decision I’ve had to make in my career”.
The 29-year-old, part of the county side’s T20 Blast victory on Saturday, last played for South Africa in October 2017, in a Test against Bangladesh at home.
“This is probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make in my career. 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,” Parnell told ESPNCricinfo.
Parnell also admitted that being frequently in and out of the South Africa team and the shoulder injury he sustained in January earlier this year were the catalysts behind his move.
“After my serious injury in January I had three to four months out and really had time to reflect and think about what I want 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. You can’t really predict the future, so you try and formulate and plot a plan and see how it unfolds.”
Parnell isn’t the first South African player to have taken the Kolpak route. Earlier, Morne Morkel, Rile Rossouw and Kyle Abbott have also moved on and signed deals.
“I am still young and I have plenty to offer to any environment that I’m in,” Parnell said. “I have played more than 100 games for my country in all formats and I’ve loved every time I’ve put on the South African jersey and I’m almost certain that nothing can replace that feeling, certainly on the cricket field.
“The reality of life is that that goals and aspirations change all the time and it seems 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.
“But I’m happy with that 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.
Parnell played six Tests, 65 ODIs and 40 T20Is during his international career.