Seattle’s Wayne Parnell ready to “make new memories and moments of brilliance” as MLC teams announce retained overseas

Wayne Parnell celebrates a wicket with Seattle Orcas in the 2023 Major League Cricket

All six Major League Cricket teams announced their retained overseas players on Thursday.

The inaugural champion MI New York lead all teams with 7 returnees in captain Kieron Pollard, Trent Boult, Dewald Brevis, Tim David, Nicholas Pooran, Rashid Khan and Kasigo Rabada.

Los Angeles Knight Riders, 2023’s last place team, return five, with Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Jason Roy, Adam Zampa and Spencer Johnson back for the purple and gold.

The Texas Super Kings bring back three, with captain Faf du Plessis, Mitchell Santner, and Devon Conway ready to bask again in the adulation of Dallas fans. Standout quick Gerald Coetzee, recently selected by MI Indians in the IPL auction, should be an interesting story to follow leading up to the summer, as some speculate that he may fill one of two remaining overseas slots for MI New York.

Washington Freedom (Akeal Hossain, Marco Jansen) and San Francisco Unicorns (Haris Rauf, Finn Allen) both return two, opening the door for speculation about the direction of their 2024 team strategy, and how that will steer their domestic draft rumored to take place in March.

The Seattle Orcas, surprise runners up in 2023, bring back four major contributors in wicketkeeper batsman Quinton De Kock, left arm orthodox all rounder Imad Wasim, star batter Heinrich Klassen, and captain left arm fast bowler Wayne Parnell.

The retention of the explosive foursome has Parnell hopeful for another strong finish in the Orca’s sophomore season.

“Firstly, it’s great to be back in MLC,” the returning Seattle captain told Emerging Cricket. “I’m really happy with how season one went with the Orcas, obviously (we were) disappointed not to win it, but to play in a final definitely shows a level of consistency which we displayed through the campaign.”

Though the Orcas have retained perhaps their four most valuable overseas contributors from 2023, veteran stars Shimron Hetmeyer, Dasun Shanaka, Dwayne Pretorious, and Andrew Tye were not kept. Teams have up to nine slots available for overseas players in the roster, with a maximum six in each playing eleven. Domestic retained players will be announced by the end of the month, followed by a domestic player draft set for March.

Regardless of the final team configuration, Parnell likes the franchise’s chances with the current core in place. “I absolutely feel confident that we can replicate what we did even if we have to get there via a different route. We have world class players who are very experienced, so it’s all about allowing them to own their space and play with freedom.”

After reaching the final in 2023, the Orcas ran into a red hot Nicholas Pooran and MI New York. Pooran went on to score 137, not out, off of 55 deliveries in one of the most incredible batting performances in T20 history. “We had such an amazing season and were literally outplayed by one absolute masterclass of an innings in the finals,” Parnell said of the historic innings. “We definitely need to start the new season from scratch though, as last year counts for nothing in this season. We start fresh and try to make new memories and moments of brilliance.”

The 2024 MLC season will kick off on July 4.

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