• ‘Pressure will be on Parnell’

    The South Africa A tour to India can be a watershed one for 25-year-old Cape Cobras all-rounder Wayne Parnell, says Justin Ontong.

    Parnell, a new acquisition to the Cobras for next season, will be one of four bowlers of the Cape side who will be part of the tour. According to Ontong, the tour can be a ‘crucial’ one for Parnell.

    Asked if the left-arm swing bowler can recapture that devastating late swing that made him such a factor for South Africa even before he reached his 20th birthday, Ontong said Parnell unfortunately did not get enough game time on overseas tours the past few years, which compromised his form.

    ‘It is about finding rhythm and gaining confidence, Ontong said. ‘If that returns, he can be a [massive factor].’

    An improvement in consistency and strike-rate could see the all-rounder become a more regular choice for South Africa in all three formats.

    Ontong said the fact that Parnell might work with Charl Langeveldt, the Proteas bowling coach, and also regularly feature for the Cobras in the domestic arena, can be advantageous for his development.

    Beuran Hendricks is expected to take a step forward on the SA A tour as well. Ontong said he trained with Hendricks the past few weeks, and he was impressed with his focus and his high standards and aims.

    Dane Piedt, who captured 8-152 on Test debut, is another who will be unleashed on tour. ‘Dane needs to reclaim his confidence. If he gets wickets on this India A tour, it will be such a boost to his self-belief,’ said Ontong.

    Both Hendricks and Piedt were victims of potentially crippling injuries in the 2014/2015-season and needed time to reassert themselves in the first-class arena.

    Ontong said Dane Paterson could be a factor in India. ‘He bowls well with the old ball, and can even achieve reverse swing.’

    Paterson was the Cobras’ leading wicket-taker in the 2014/2015-season, removing 42 scalps in the Sunfoil Series. He also claimed 4-33 in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge final.

    ‘The fact that South Africa are resting some of the leading bowlers like Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander (in ODI’s) could open a door for Paterson if he performs well in India,’ Ontong explained.’

    ‘Paterson is one of the fittest Cobras players around, and a factor that contributes richly to his wickets is that he can still operate at full tilt in his final spells of a day.’

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