Vilifying Parnell unfair and no help to team

 Wayne Parnell
Wayne Parnell

WAYNE Parnell has been installed as the cricket public’s enemy No 1 after the Indian batsmen tore into him at the MCG on Sunday.

South Africa lost by 130 runs and Parnell conceded 85 runs in his nine overs, only the third time that a Proteas bowler had given away that many.

Social media trawlers let rip at the leftarm seamer with even more vigour than Shikhar Dhawan’s bat.

Adding fuel to the fire, is the fact that coach Russell Domingo told reporters at St George’s Park, on the eve the team’s departure for the World Cup, that Parnell was a match-winner.

This column’s purpose is to provide statistics and then let you decide whether SA have the personnel at No 7 in the lineup.

South African great Barry Richards once said he found the Wisden Almanac as appealing as a telephone directory. So, at the risk of boring you and Barry, I thought I would compare the players who were or are vying for the No 7 spot and compare their stats since January last year.

Parnell and Farhaan Behardien are at the World Cup, but many have been asking why Ryan McLaren could not make the 15-man squad. “Where is David Wiese?” others have asked.

Let’s take a look at Parnell first. During the period in question, he has bowled in 12 ODIs and his figures read: 100 overs, three maidens, 568 runs and 20 wickets. That works out to an economy rate of 5.68 runs per over at an average of 28.4 runs per wicket. As an addition, his career batting average is 23.31 in 46 ODIs.

McLaren has bowled in 13 matches since January last year, with an analysis of 104 overs, no maidens, 583 runs and 23 wickets. So each one of his overs costs 5.60, while his wickets comes at the expense of 25.3 runs. His overall batting average is 18.65 in 54 ODIs. Behardien is less experienced than the other two but in his last 10 matches he returned figures of 47-0-262-6 which equates to an economy rate of 5.57 and a bowling average of 43.6. His batting average is 21.20 in 22 ODIs.

Overall, Parnell averages slightly more with the bat, Behardien has been fractionally more economical and McLaren has edged the wicket stakes.

The thing is, there is much of a muchness in their stats and that is the problem South Africa have. Is it a question of playing the wrong allrounder? Or, maybe more aptly, do we possess an allrounder to fill that position?

Wiese was perhaps an option. But does one take a chance on someone who has not played an ODI for South Africa and throw him into a World Cup?

Maybe he should have been blooded in the side during the short tours of Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand last year.

We should remember that players do not pick themselves. So, if you feel there are cannons to be fired, aim them in the direction of those who make the decisions.

But in the meantime, the question remains, who is going to do the job over the next few weeks?

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