Wayne Parnell is confident some of the best seasons of his career are ahead of him after signing a three year deal with Worcestershire as a Kolpak player.
The 29-year-old all-rounder registered his best List A figures in England with his 5-24 against Notts Outlaws in the Royal London One-Day Cup and then returned 5-25 versus Yorkshire.
That followed on from his aggressive 70 against Warwickshire in the same competition.
Parnell says he has become a “smarter cricketer” and benefitted from picking the brains of some of the best players in the game via the various T20 tournaments he has played in around the world.
Parnell also feels the belief amongst the County’s squad will only grow after clocking up what was a first trophy for many of the group in last summer’s Vitality Blast.
He also believes Worcestershire now have a good blend of experience and younger blood in a Question and Answer Session with the Worcestershire CCC website.
Question: Wayne, you signed a three year contract which shows yourself and the club are very committed to each other?
Wayne Parnell: “They’ve shown that faith in me and now going forward I will try and repay that faith they’ve shown and hopefully I can add value on and off the field in all three formats.”
Question: You are 29, do you feel some of your best years are in front of you?
Wayne Parnell: “Definitely. Over the last 12-18 months, I’ve become smarter as a cricketer. I think that is the key thing when you get older and start playing more games, your skill improves but you also become smarter in terms of when to use it.
“Over the last couple of years, I’ve known my brain more and that will hold me in good stead.”
Question: This winter you’ve played in four different tournaments, that experience must really be beneficial to you?
Wayne Parnell: “That’s the thing for me. I’m a person who likes learning and experiencing different things and I like chatting to different people from different parts of the world and finding out what they do in their particular country.
“That is probably one thing I’ve taken away from the last six months, going to different places, playing alongside some really fine cricketers, and just trying to find out what they do and see if I can nit-pick certain things and add them to my game.
“It’s been a busy winter. I was very lucky after the PSL (Pakistan Super League) to get home for about 10 days.
“Giddo (Alex Gidman) and the coaching staff recognised because I had a busy winter that it was just nice to get home for a few days and catch up with the family before coming over to the UK.”
Question: The buzz from last September when winning the Vitality Blast, was incredible?
Wayne Parnell: “Absolutely. For the club and where we want to go, I think it was massive. I think it’s also off the back of being a pretty good white ball team but not getting over the line.
“To get that first trophy was really special and it was such a nice period for the club and it’s something we can build on.
“Now we’ve crossed the winning line once, we actually know now what it takes to get there. Hopefully we can emulate that again and try and replicate what we did last season and potentially try and step it up a bit.”
Question: How many trophies have you won during your career?
Wayne Parnell: “I’ve won a few. With the Chevrolet Warriors we actually won two trophies in one season, also white ball trophies, and I think it was a similar thing there to Worcestershire where we had been close, in the semis and finals, a couple of times.
“When actually winning a trophy, that belief grows in the group and hopefully that is the same story here and once you know what it actually takes to get over the line, you can work towards doing it over and over again.
“It was something spoke about leading up to the final, that Worcestershire had never won it before, so to get the first trophy was really special.”
Question: A priority as well is to get back into Division One of the County Championship?
Wayne Parnell: “When I was back at home, I was thinking about what we will be looking to achieve over the next couple of months and certainly in red ball cricket, we want to get back into Division One and we have a good enough squad to play at that level and made a good start against Leicestershire and Durham.”
Question: This is your first taste of a full six month English domestic season?
Wayne Parnell: “The nice thing is I’ve spoken to a couple of guys over the last few months and they’ve given me ideas about how to go about it.
“As much as you want to be physically fresh, you want to be mentally fresh as well. It is about trying to make sure you stay fairly level. You don’t want to try and get too ‘up’ or ‘down’ when you are winning or losing games.
“It is about trying to stay constant because it is a long season. We’ve worked out a decent formula over the last couple of seasons to be a fairly successful county.”
Question: The squad has been strengthened with yourself, Callum Ferguson, Riki Wessels and Martin Guptill at different stages and for different formats?
Wayne Parnell: “The skill they bring to the club is one thing but the experience is important as well. That is almost as important as their skills.
“Hopefully that can rub off on a couple of the younger batters, get them to also replicate what these pros have done over many years. and been successful as well, and try and follow in their footsteps to increase their fame as well.”
Question: There is a good blend of experience and youth now?
Wayne Parnell: “That is what the County was probably lacking, having a couple more experienced heads, but now with these experienced guys, Riki, Callum being here for most of the season and Martin coming in for the T20, people who have played cricket all over the world, it will be vital for the lads to try and pick their brains.
“Even if every guy learns just one thing of these guys, it will be good for them.”