South Africa’s T20 WC fiasco: ‘Questions have probably been left unanswered,’ says Parnell

Wayne Parnell feels a lot of questions about South Africa’s performance at the men’s T20 World Cup have “probably been left unanswered”, but the team has to move on.
“It was good, personally. But, obviously, as a team, we stumbled. A lot of questions have probably been left unanswered. But you have to move on,” Parnell, who picked up five wickets in five games at an economy rate of 6.37, told ESPNcricinfo on the sidelines of the SA20 launch. South Africa started the tournament well but were eliminated after a shock defeat to Netherlands.

The focus, in terms of white-ball cricket, now shifts to the ODI World Cup next October in India, and 33-year-old Parnell feels he has it in him to make it to the next two global events, including the T20 World Cup in 2024.

“For me, the key is enjoying cricket. There was a stage where I didn’t probably enjoy that much. It probably showed a little bit on the field,” Parnell said. “But, over the last five-six years, I have sort of really enjoyed my cricket, I have enjoyed [playing with] different teams, adding values on and off the field. So, 2023, why not? And then 2024, why not?

“It’s about keeping your game simple. Obviously, I have a lot of clarity, and I am trying to focus on my role and not trying to do something else. I think that’s probably been the biggest change. And also, game time – I think, with cricket being the game of averages, you might have bad games; I trust my skills to the fullest and I have been able to showcase that, really.”

Parnell was the first former Kolpak player to be recalled to the South Africa men’s national team after the system ceased to exist and has been a regular in both white-ball teams since returning to the national side in November 2021.
He has also been a T20 globetrotter, playing in leagues across the world, and has also turned out regularly in the county circuit since 2017. He said that Moeen Ali [they were colleagues at Worcestershire between 2018 and 2021] and Faf du Plessis were instrumental in him becoming a better player in the last few years.

“I have been lucky enough to share the dressing room with some of the best T20 players,” Parnell said. “So, [I’m] just trying to learn, learning from the next generation because they come with new ideas and they also look at the game differently. Even though I am more on the older side, I am probably trying to tap into the youngsters.

“I think Moeen Ali has been the most influential. [He is a] really good cricketer, really great captain as well. And also, with the Hundred, with Faf du Plessis, same thing as well. Just really calm and clear about what you want to do and try to execute. It’s more about the process and outcome. They are very much process-driven and focussed and try to play to your strengths.”

There is also South Africa’s SA20 league around the corner. Parnell, part of Pretoria Capitals, said a franchise T20 league was “long overdue” in the country.

The tournament will comprise 33 matches, to be played from January 10 to February 11, with a halt between January 25 and February 1 when South Africa host England in three Super League ODIs.

“Very excited. It’s long overdue. Everyone is really buzzed about it,” Parnell said. “Everyone can’t wait for the first game, obviously, it’s going to be a great Cape derby, I am also looking forward to Pretoria Capitals’ first game as well.”

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