All-rounder Wayne Parnell played a major role in Worcestershire’s Vitality Blast triumph last summer.
He was the County’s second highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket after Pat Brown and made useful contributions with the bat.
Happily the South African is fit after a hamstring problem for the launch of the 2019 competition against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge tonight and Birmingham Bears at Blackfinch New Road tomorrow (Friday).
Here he looks back at last summer’s memorable achievement and ahead to what the current campaign may bring for the Rapids in a Question and Answer Session with the Worcestershire CCC website.
Question: Presumably you look back on last summer with great memories?
Wayne Parnell: “Certainly. Obviously last season was spectacular for us and we will be looking to build on that again. It’s all about hitting that first game really hard.
“Going from a red ball game (at Durham) straight into T20 is a mental shift but everyone is really excited and looking forward to it.”
Question: Last year’s success would have given everyone so much confidence and self-belief?
Wayne Parnell: “I’ve been following county cricket over the last couple of years and Worcestershire have been a really good white ball team.
“They have always been there or thereabouts and to get over the line last year was really good and just the start and we will trying to do what we did last season again.”
Question: How important is it to make a good start?
Wayne Parnell: “We’ve got two games back to back against two very good sides in Notts and Birmingham so it’s going to be crucial to hit those two games really hard and then re-assess after that.
“It is just about focusing on Nottingham and then back home against Birmingham.”
Question: How much of a plus is it to have Martin Guptill back this summer?
Wayne Parnell: “Having experience around the group is obviously going to be crucial. He has been here before so he will fit in like a glove.
“Everyone knows him, everyone knows his quality, and everyone is really excited to have him around.
“We are hoping he can come in and do what he did last season.
“On his day he is so destructive. He is a world class batter and having that experienced head around the team will settle a lot of the younger guys as well. That sort of experience is invaluable.
“It’s the same with Fergie (Callum Ferguson) as well, having done so well for us last season as well.”
Question: You played a full part yourself and were our second highest wicket-taker in 2018 in the Blast?
Wayne Parnell: “With me, I just want to contribute, whether it be with the bat or the ball. It’s the way I’ve played my cricket and the way I continue to play my cricket.
“It’s always trying to be that game-changer. That’s something I’ve always striven to be and is something I will try and do again.”
Question: Have you been pleased with your first full season at Blackfinch New Road apart from your hamstring injury?
Wayne Parnell: “I used my experience to figure out where I fit in with this team. You obviously don’t want to come in and disrupt certain things.
“It is a solid bowling unit and it is just about everyone complimenting each other. The Championship table is very tight now and the T20 is going to be very special for us.”
Question: As Blast champions, the Rapids will be looked upon as the team to beat?
Wayne Parnell: “Everyone will be taking us seriously now. In white ball cricket we’ve played really well, 20 and 50 over.
“Everyone is looking at us now and it is key for us to maintain the same level or try and take it up a notch.”
Question: Finally how is your own fitness?
Wayne Parnell: “I’ve been trying to be sensible. Benny (Ben Davies) has been looking after me and I’ve had a nice structured plan.
“These things always seem to happen at the wrong time. It’s just been about trying to do what I can and try and get myself back fit again and firing.
“Mentally I’ve known what I had to do but it’s just been about getting the physical part right and catching up with that as well – just about keeping it simple and doing the work.
“Obviously T20 is high intensity so it’s just been about getting myself mentally and physically ready as well. It’s not the same hamstring as before and it’s just about getting myself back on the park.”