WAYNE Parnell is a wanted man in India, but not for his prowess at cricket. Instead, the fast bowler and lower-order hitter is being sought by police on drugs charges.
Parnell, who was handed the Warriors captaincy yesterday, says he is innocent – and he is willing to travel to India to cooperate with the investigation.
“Definitely,” Parnell said yesterday. “I’ve got nothing to hide. The full story will come out once I get over there.”
In fact, Parnell plans to report for duty with the Pune Warriors next month to play in the Indian Premier League.
Exactly when he will arrive there depends on whether he has fulfilled his commitments with his SA franchise, also the Warriors.
Pune’s first match is on April 5. The Eastern Cape version of the Warriors play their last round-robin game in SA’s domestic T20 competition on March 28. The final is scheduled for April 7.
Parnell and India’s Rahul Sharma were detained after a police raid on a birthday party at a Mumbai hotel during last year’s IPL. Drugs including cocaine and dagga were discovered at the venue, and almost 100 people were detained and tested.
“They tested everyone at the party,” Parnell said. “I need to find my sample, because if they tested me they must have my sample and we need to match that up.
“As far as I am aware, they didn’t put any specific samples to names. They just said that a certain number of people tested positive. The individual samples need to be shown now.”
Yesterday, the Press Trust of India quoted police as saying: “We have filed a 1200-page charge sheet against 86 persons, while 35 accused – mostly foreigers – have been shown as wanted.”
Parnell is on that wanted list, which came as news to him.
“I haven’t heard anything further; it’s a mystery to me,” Parnell said. “As far as I am concerned, everything is fine. I’ve received mail from Pune saying I have to come [to play in the IPL].”
Parnell pointed to his clean record as a player as evidence of his innocence. “I’ve been subject to drug testing in my five years as a professional cricketer, and I haven’t tested positive once.”
Cricket SA executive consultant Michael Owen-Smith said that the board had “received no communication from any authority in India. We know no more than we have read in the media”.