Wayne Parnell is ready for a “blockbuster game” after stepping into the shoes of big-hitting West Indian Andre Russell for the Northern Warriors in the Abu Dhabi T10.
The South African all-rounder, a late replacement for Russell, is all set for his Warriors debut against the defending champions Maratha Arabians in the first of the three matches on opening day at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Parnell was out of quarantine for his first training in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday and will have a final workout with the Warriors squad on Wednesday ahead of the first game.
“We are first game up and very excited, and to start against the champions will be a blockbuster opening game,” Parnell said on Wednesday.
“I have been training back home in South Africa and putting in a lot of work to obviously stay prepared whenever certain situations arrive. I got a call and here I am.
“I had the first training here last night and another tonight with most of the guys coming out of the quarantine. It will be nice to meet everyone to get familiar with.”
Nicholas Pooran, the team's captain, has taken over from Russell as the Warriors' icon player. He is the player to watch along with his West Indian teammate Lendl Simmons and Pakistan international Wahab Riaz.
“We have a really good squad,” Parnell said. “I’ll be meeting some of them for the first time and the chemistry of getting to know each other is very important.
“T10 is a fast format and we obviously have to adapt very quickly and act fast to the situations. I think we all know our roles in the team. We just go out there and execute them.”
Parnell, 31, has played six Tests, 65 ODI’s and 40 T20’s for South Africa. He also counts 26 games in the Indian Premier League and has been on tour to Abu Dhabi but didn’t have the opportunity to play.
“I haven’t played here but quite familiar with the conditions,” the all-rounder said.
“It’s a good cricket wicket and watching a few IPL games on TV I think the pitch here is really good, obviously we are playing the T10 format and would need to get going straightaway.”
Shoaib Malik is the icon player of Maratha Arabians. Joining him are fellow Pakistan international Mohammad Hafeez, Bangladesh international Mosaddek Hossain and Englishman Laurie Evans are their marquee players.
Northern Warriors were champions of the second edition after Kerala Kings were winners of the inaugural event in the first two editions of the competition at Sharjah.
The event shifted to the Zayed Cricket stadium last year after Abu Dhabi Cricket in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi signed a five-year agreement with the organiser.