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Feature

Desire for global title burns bright for Wayne Parnell despite World Cup disappointment

The South Africa allrounder is enjoying the challenge of adapting to the T10 format, where batters 'just want to destroy you'

Aadam Patel
02-Dec-2022
'T10 is so unpredictable. You have to be really smart every single ball, especially when you're thinking about how you set up your over'  •  Ashley Allen - CPL T20 / Getty

'T10 is so unpredictable. You have to be really smart every single ball, especially when you're thinking about how you set up your over'  •  Ashley Allen - CPL T20 / Getty

@Parnygram is what Waleed Wayne Parnell goes by on Instagram. A quick scroll down his page and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the South African is a full-time influencer.
There are trendy shots and well-edited reels of Parnell across the globe from Ranchi to London to Brisbane and now to Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi T10. An influencer he is in more ways than one but beneath that social-media page is a man with a desire to live life to the fullest. And with that, a desire for success at the highest level.
Whenever Parnell calls time on his career, the 33-year-old will doubtless look back with immense pride and satisfaction at what he's achieved. The youngest player to be handed a national contract by Cricket South Africa in 2009, Parnell has represented South Africa across formats with over 100 caps for the Proteas but for the left-armer from Port Elizabeth, one thing is missing - an ICC trophy.
In Australia, South Africa began their T20 World Cup campaign against Zimbabwe in a game that they should have won but finished without a result. They bounced back by hammering Bangladesh and beating India and after three games, they very much looked like the team to beat.
Yet in the space of a few nights, their tournament unravelled as they lost to Pakistan and then fell to a shock defeat against Netherlands. And despite such an optimistic start, they were on the early plane home.
"It was very disappointing. Going in, we felt really confident. Just sitting in the dressing room, looking around at the personnel we had, we were very confident," Parnell says. "I'm still asking myself questions as to what went wrong. It's just one of those things in a tournament format where you've got to be switched on every single game."
For Parnell, that desire to add a world title is still there after over a decade playing for his country. Since the 1998 Champions Trophy, success has evaded South Africa on the global stage.
"I'm still as hungry as ever. I've still got that big goal in mind. I'd love to finish my career with an ICC medal for South Africa," Parnell insists.
He is at the Abu Dhabi T10 playing for Northern Warriors and Parnell isn't the only South African in town. David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Rilee Rossouw and Tabraiz Shamsi are all here for Season 6 of the tournament and Parnell insists that the format offers a different challenge altogether.
"T10 is so unpredictable. You have to be really smart every single ball, especially when you're thinking about how you set up your over," the left-armer says.
"It's easier in terms of clarity but playing different opposition every day at different times and on different wickets, it challenges you and you have to adapt and show those different skillsets.
"I've been given the responsibility of bowling the tougher overs. It's something I've always enjoyed doing anyway but you've got to be switched on every ball because guys are basically coming out and trying to kill you. They just want to destroy you."
And as long as that drive to compete is still there, Parnell plans on carrying on the globetrotting lifestyle across franchise leagues and for the Proteas.
"Once I stop enjoying it, I'll hang up my boots. As long as I'm having fun, still learning every day and feeling like I can get better, I'll continue to play."

Aadam Patel is a freelance sports reporter who has written for BBC Sport, the Daily Mail, ESPNcricinfo, the Cricketer and other publications @aadamp9