TELFORD VICE, Franschhoek
WAYNE Parnell’s return to the SA squad for a one-day triangular in the West Indies next month will cause the hopes of many to soar like one of his booming drives.
Others will want to slink away from the thought of Parnell bowling for SA again, much as the man himself had to do after being smashed for 85 runs in nine overs in his most recent ODI, against India during the 2015 World Cup.
Here, then, is some unsolicited advice for Parnell from the ranks of the soaring hopefuls:
1. Add some temperament to all that talent.
Many players, even at the highest level, would morph overnight into Jacques Kallis or Kagiso Rabada if they had Parnell’s talent. He really is that gifted. But this kind of gift has its asking price, because talent will only get you so far. The longest part of the journey to success is 17.78 centimetres long. That’s the width of the average human skull – and it’s between the ears where great players are separated from the merely very, very good. Parnell has another chance to take a step towards that destination. Steady, now, son. Don’t muck this up.
2. Consistency, consistency, consistency …
Remember that oke who, from nowhere, scored that outrageous century and disappeared back to nowhere? Or the fella who came, saw and conquered all 10 wickets in an innings and was never heard from again? Of course you don’t. Or, if you do, it’s only because you – and everyone else – have wondered for years why, if he could do it once, he couldn’t keep doing it. Once-off heroics are the stuff of Disney movies. They aren’t helpful to players who need to keep doing what they do, match in, match out, series in, series out, season in, season out. No-one is that consistent, but so far Parnell has been below standard in this crucial department. He will know that, and he’s the only one who can fix it.
3. Enough experimentation.
If we see another slower ball loop lamely towards the batsman like a lemming freshly plunged off a cliff, or another stingless bouncer asking to be hammered, or another nothing ball pitched a foot outside off-stump, we may just throw the remote at the television. And that’s all in one over, often as bowled by Parnell. Somebody needs to tell him that he is more than good enough to bowl properly and to hell with the gimmicks – a decent length on off-stump to people who can bat, full and straight to the rest, and if he feels like breaking a rib or two, go ahead, make our day.
4. Hit it like you stole it.
There lurk among us players who have no use for coaches or their manuals. For them, none of that “front elbow up” stuff is required – their elbows have been coming up since they were old enough to wield a baby’s bottle, nevermind a bat. Parnell is of this rare ilk. Which is not to say he does not work on his game, just that he starts that work with an almost unfair advantage: what the rest of us have to learn to do he was born doing. So there seems to be no gap between him deciding which stroke to play and playing it. Would that his synapses never lose their snap.
5. Dude, what’s that thing on your head?
Wear a cap. Or a floppy hat. Or a helmet. Do not wear a ponytail where your dignity should be. Do not subject yourself to the pathetic ridiculousness of a man bun. If you are tempted to fall into either of those traps, or any other follicular folly, ask yourself, “What would Lou Gossett junior say?” You’re a cricketer, for goodness sake, not some hipster looking for a soy latte, free WiFi and beard oil. Yes, there is a point to this rant: when you’ve pissed off as many talentless people as the supremely talented Parnell has, a horror hairstyle only adds to the ammunition they think they have against you.