Wayne Parnell effectively ends SA career, signs Kolpak deal
South African pacer Wayne Parnell has practically brought an end to his international cricket by signing a Kolpak deal with Worcestershire, calling it 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.
Injuries have been a major hindrance for Parnell in his efforts to push his way back into the South African side. He debuted back in 2009, and played a total of 100 international games over the next decade, but encountered a major roadblock in January this year when he was ruled out until July, due to a shoulder injury.
He admitted that time away from the game ensured that he could reflect on his career - the injury coincided with his wife's pregnancy, which gave him all the more reason to ponder over his future path.
He also revealed that there wasn't much communication between him and the Cricket South Africa board off-late.
"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", he added.
"The goalposts for me have shifted. I'm comfortable and content with my decision and the people in my corner are all fully supportive of my decision. I can't really predict what the future holds but I'm excited by it at the same time".
Parnell joins the likes of ex-teammates Rilee Rossouw, David Wiese and Kyle Abbott, adding to a bulging list of cricketers who have taken the Kolpak route in a bid to secure their playing days at the expense of their international careers.