Domingo opens door for Parnell's international return
Wayne Parnell's 3 for 26 was the most incisive and economical contribution for South Africa A against the touring England XI in their warm-up match in Paarl, but he will still have to bide his time before thinking of an international return. Despite his impressive showing, Parnell's inconsistent and injury-filled history means he still has to prove himself properly before he gets another look in.
"I've always been a big fan Wayne Parnell. He provides what you need in one-day cricket, in terms of a lower order batting option and bowling at good pace," Russell Domingo, South Africa's coach, said at the team's training session at Newlands on Wednesday. "I like that x-factor that he brings but he has had a lot of injuries of late. The plan was for us to send him back to domestic cricket and for him to perform well there there for a period of time before getting into the national side again. Hopefully he can continue to improve and get back into the national side again."
Domingo was Parnell's coach at the Warriors and oversaw some of his international career, including a Test comeback in February 2014 that was interrupted by a groin strain. Parnell returned from that injury only to face another the following summer.
A foot injury ruled him out of the South Africa A squad to play England in a three-day warm-up match in mid-December 2015. He was back in action at the end of January and has since being playing for his franchise, Cobras. Parnell is their second highest-wicket-taker in the ongoing one-day cup and the sixth overall, with 14 scalps at 23.71, and is starting to demonstrate the ability to threaten more regularly, which Domingo wants to see.
"He is a little bit like Chris Morris at time. He can be a bit inconsistent but things happen around players like him. They take good catches, they bowl important spells, they bowl an average spell but then come back."
For now, Morris is one of the men occupying a spot that could belong to Parnell. All indications are that Morris will hold down a regular place in the T20 squad for the five home internationals as well as for the upcoming World T20, where he is likely to bowl in a well-resourced attack.
Even though limited-overs matches have gained a reputation for being run-fests, Domingo is a bowlers' man and wants to pack his side with enough punch in that department to win games. That's the way he did it at the Warriors, the franchise he coached to their trophies in the 2009-10 season when they were victorious in both the one-day cup and twenty-over competition, and that's the way he wants to do it now.
"I've always believed in having a good bowling attack in short format . I am a big fan of having five frontline bowlers particularly in the one-day side but I haven't always had that," Domingo said. "At the Warriors, we had two spinners in Johan Botha and Nicky Boje, we had Makhaya Ntini and Rusty Theron and we always had one more. There was no easy let off for opposition sides with the ball."
Domingo admitted that he has not always been able to get the same dynamic in the national side which has lacked allrounders until recently. "We have struggled to find the balance all the time and finding the the right person to fulfill the role," he said. "We've done it with JP and Farhaan. Sometimes with success. Sometimes with less success. But I enjoy having five frontline bowlers and a sixth part timer or a seventh. I feel bowlers will win you a lot of contests. If you don't have that, your batting will comes under a little bit of pressure."
That means that at some point, Parnell will come back into the picture. For now, though, he has to concentrate on out-bowling his nearest competitor, Beuran Hendricks. Domingo mentioned Hendricks as the other left-armer the South African selectors "are looking at," but after his 0 for 50 in three overs on Wednesday evening, they may be looking more at Parnell.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent