Parnell and Hamza determined to add value to Proteas ODI squad to host the Netherlands

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Zubayr Hamza has five Test caps for the Proteas but is yet to be capped in the shorter formats.
Zubayr Hamza has five Test caps for the Proteas but is yet to be capped in the shorter formats.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Wayne Parnell and his Western Province teammate Zubayr Hamza can’t wait to get going after they were both recalled to the Proteas ODI squad that will play a three-match series against the Netherlands in Centurion and Johannesburg this month.

While the 32-year-old Parnell is a stalwart of six tests, 65 ODIs and 40 T20s, the 26-year-old Hamza is yet to be capped in the shorter formats but has five Test caps to his name.

The Gqeberha-born Parnell last played for the Proteas four years ago while the Cape Town-born Hamza’s last appearance was against England in the third Test last year.

The Western Province duo were part of the 16-member ODI squad to host the Netherlands on November 26 and 28 at SuperSport Park in Centurion and on December 1 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Parnell is the first player who returned from a Kolpak deal in the UK at the beginning of this season who got selected for the Proteas.

There are those who think that it is perhaps too soon to start selecting ex-Kolpak players but Parnell believes he will add value to the team.

“For me it has obviously been a crazy journey over the past couple of years,” said Parnell, who added he did not have the Proteas in mind when he signed up for Western Province.

“Did I think this day was going to come? I certainly did not set up my stall to say I am coming into the Proteas side, I was quite happy to just come back and play for Western Province and try to add value.

“The whole Kolpak thing was not only a cricketing decision. It was a family decision as well.

“Like I said earlier, I just want to add value and help the younger guys as well.”

Hamza made his Test debut against Pakistan in January 2019 but the relatively slow adjustment to international cricket and injuries restricted him to just five Test matches.

Hamza, who scored his maiden T20 100 in the domestic T20 competition last month, said he returns to the national team a mature and assured cricket player.

“I know what I can do and I feel comfortable with what I can bring to any particular team and that has been my focus on myself over the past couple of years — not focusing on the next guy on what he is doing and me having to do better than him,” said Hamza.

“If I can show what I have been doing over the seasons I think I will be all right.

“Now I could play with a lot more freedom and obviously it is a little bit different when you are playing international cricket because there is a lot of competition for places within the squad.

“It is a new privilege and it is always good to get some sort of recognition for decent performances over a period. I think there is still progress to be made but I am happy so far.”

Proteas coach Mark Boucher has said the team will use the three-match ODI series with the Netherlands to rest several Test players and allow them enough recovery and preparation time to be ready for combat in time for the money-spinning all-format tour of India in December.