Wayne Parnell on SA20, and making his return to the South Africa set-upBreaking

January 10, 2023

The SA20 tournament, which begins on Tuesday, represents a new era after so much unrest among so many of the country's players in the last decade. For years, Kolpak deals - which allowed sportspeople from countries with associate trade agreements with the European Union, such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Caribbean nations to be afforded the same right to free movement as EU citizens - brought about a talent drain. A host of the country's brightest talents headed to England for better opportunities and better contracts, trading away their eligibility to play for South Africa in the process.

That practice has now ended, following Britain's withdrawal from the EU - meaning players are free to return to play for their country of birth once again. One of the highest profile exits was Wayne Parnell - the left-arm pace bowling all-rounder had played 111 games for the Proteas before he took off to England to sign a Kolpak deal.

For Parnell though, rather than coming to the decision quickly, it was more of a gradual thing. "Going back to 2016 or 2017 there was a thought, but obviously I still felt like I could play international cricket. The turning point was in 2018, where I didn't commit to anything but that thought was there," Parnell says.

"I was in touch with Moeen Ali, he asked me if I wanted to come play for Worcestershire in the Blast, and obviously Moeen's someone that I really respect. "When I got over to Worcestershire the whole Kolpak thing wasn't really a proper discussion, it was just playing Blast and a couple of County Championship games."

That Parnell's wife was pregnant, and he had already had a taste of county cricket via a couple of stints before his term at New Road, the decision that he came to in 2018 was one that made sense for both him and his family. "When my wife was very close to giving birth [the decision came] just based on the fact that there would be a bit more stability in our lives," recalls Parnell. "With international cricket it's obviously very difficult with tours and all of that stuff."

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-INP