WHILE South Africa play the Netherlands in a World T20 match in Chittagong today, Port Elizabeth’s Wayne Parnell will be in a Mumbai courtroom 2000km away.
Parnell, from Port Elizabeth, will appear on drug charges relating to a police raid on a Mumbai hotel party almost two years ago in May 2012.
Parnell and Rahul Sharma, who both played for the Pune Warriors in that year’s Indian Premier League, were among nearly 100 people detained for allegedly testing positive for cocaine, dagga and ecstasy.
Parnell has protested his innocence, and said in March last year that the samples taken by police had not been matched to their donors.
His agent, Donne Commins, who will accompany Parnell along with his Indian lawyer, Makrand Narwekar, said yesterday Parnell’s appearance today was “purely for procedural purposes in relation to the court’s ongoing administration of the case concerned”.
Translation: the Indian authorities will probably allow Parnell to rejoin the squad in time for him to be considered for Saturday’s important game against England in Chittagong.
South African team manager Mohammed Moosajee said the decision to make Parnell, 24, available for today’s hearing was made before the World Twenty20.
“We were aware before the World Twenty20 that Wayne would have to travel to India to appear in court as a matter of procedure and we have made provision for this in our planning,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate to lose him for a game in the middle of an important tournament, but we must respect the law. Furthermore, Wayne has expressed no wrongdoing so we hope that the case can be concluded as soon as possible.” The left-handed paceman has so far played four tests, 33 one-dayers and 26 T20 internationals for SA. He has taken 25 T20 wickets and scored 102 runs, but has not played in either of South Africa’s two matches so far in the World Twenty20.
He enjoyed a phenomenal rise to stardom and was only 15 when he represented the SA under-19 team at the U19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006. – Additional reporting by AFP and Herald Reporter