South Africa seamer was traced by UK authorities as a possible contact of someone with the virus
Wayne Parnell, Northamptonshire’s South African overseas signing, will miss the start of the County Championship season after being forced to quarantine for an additional five days by the NHS Covid-19 track-and-trace system.
Parnell was signed by Northants ahead of the start of the season and arrived in the UK last week. He was due to spend five days in his accommodation in town before being allowed out under test-and-release guidelines – which cut the isolation period in half if two negative Covid-19 tests are returned – with the intention of joining up with the team during a two-day home friendly with Leicestershire that started on Sunday.
However, having received his second negative at the weekend, Parnell was traced by the authorities as a possible contact of someone with the virus and his period in quarantine extended to 10 days.
He will now certainly miss Northamptonshire’s opening game, against Kent at Wantage Road starting on Thursday, and is unlikely to feature the following week, having not had an opportunity to prepare for the workload of bowling in a first-class match.
“Unfortunately Wayne was contacted by track-and-trace,” Northamptonshire’s head coach, David Ripley, said. “He was supposed to come to the ground to take part in training on Sunday, but got told he has to stay in quarantine. He won’t be available for the opening round and it might take a while to get him fully up to speed.”
Parnell’s route to the UK had involved travelling to Kenya and training there for 10 days, rather than arrive directly from South Africa, which is on the government’s red list.
“The first game was always touch and go, but it’s looking more likely for the third game,” Ripley added. “He won’t have bowled for 20 days, so we’ll have to see how he is. But we’ve signed him for the whole season across formats, so we don’t feel we need to rush him.”
Parnell, 31, has previously played county cricket for Glamorgan, Kent, Sussex and Worcestershire. He signed for Worcestershire under the Kolpak ruling in 2018, but lost his status after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Northants have had a number of injury concerns among their bowlers coming into the new season, with Jack White, Brandon Glover and Luke Procter nursing problems – although White was fit enough to play in the Leicestershire friendly. Paul van Meekeren, the Netherlands seamer who was released by Somerset in 2019, has been training with the club as potential cover.
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick