Wayne Parnell is a naturally gifted allrounder who bats and bowls left-handed, and who seems to have been earmarked for success from a young age. Parnell began playing for Eastern Province's U-13 side when he was 12 and was captain the following year. He didn't make the U-15 side initially, but at the age of 15 began to play for Eastern Province and South Africa at the U-19 level. He made his first-class debut for Eastern Province in 2006-07 and was also part of South Africa's Under-19 squad for the 2006 World Cup in Sri Lanka. The experience he gained over the years brought him the captaincy for the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia in 2008 and he led by example: taking 18 wickets, the most in the tournament, and scoring useful runs in the middle-order to steer South Africa into the final. His best performance came in the quarter-final against Bangladesh, when he took 6 for 8 after scoring 57. The South Africa selectors were already taking note and he went on the Emerging Players tour of Australia before a call-up to the senior one-day squad for the series in early 2009. After a modest debut against the Australians, he became the youngest player to be handed a national contract by Cricket South Africa (CSA).