Kent have signed South African fast bowler Wayne Parnell to improve their pace attack, in a move that underlines their ambition to challenge strongly for promotion this season in a competitive second division.
Parnell, 27, is returning to Kent after an eight-year hiatus. During his previous spell at the club in 2009, he took 17 wickets and scored 183 runs in his five matches as Kent won Division Two. They were relegated in 2010 and have not graced the top flight with their presence ever since.
Parnell’s career has not really taken off in the way he might have hoped after making his international debut in 2009, but made a recent return to the South African Test side, picking up six wickets in an innings-win over Sri Lanka.
Parnell is only available for a short spell at the start of the season before returning to international duty. Nevertheless, he is a dangerous cricketer who could provide an injection of pace and aggression into this ambitious and promising Kent side.
There is a certain buzz around Kent at the start of this season, and it has not been flies on them. Jason Gillespie brought the attention of the cricketing world to the club when he stepped in to rescue them after Allan Donald had visa trouble that prevented him from taking over as coach, and they currently sit just one point off the top of the table after a devastating 6-22 from 40-year-old Darren Stevens destroyed Gloucestershire to seal an impressive start to 2017 at Canterbury.
Parnell went unsold in the IPL auction earlier in the year, but he will be looking to use his short stint in county cricket to push the South African selectors to give him more opportunities at Test level for the Proteas. He has played five Tests over seven years, with significant gaps in his appearances (2010, 2014 and 2017). With South Africa losing long-time reserve bowler Kyle Abbott to Hampshire in a Kolpak deal, Parnell might well feel that he has gone up a step in the pecking order.
Parnell’s second debut will come away at Sussex on Friday, before returning to Canterbury for their encounter with Derbyshire a week later.