London — Wayne Parnell joined an elite club on Monday when he signed a three-year Kolpak contract with Worcestershire.

That makes the all-rounder only the seventh black South African to go the Kolpak route in the past 11 years.

Twenty white players from SA have taken up similar deals in the same period.

"Special mention must go to the Eastern Province and Warriors unions for taking a risk and giving a kid from the dusty streets of Booysen Park [in Port Elizabeth] a chance [to] play this wonderful game‚" Parnell was quoted as saying in an article on Worcestershire’s website.

"To all of those people who dislike me for whatever reason I thank you as well; you’ve helped make me mentally and emotionally tougher."

Parnell polarised opinion for much of his international career‚ which amounted to six Tests‚ 65 one-day internationals and 40 T20s and lasted from January 2009 to October 2017.

He is richly talented with both bat and ball but chronically inconsistent‚ and injuries have not helped his cause. Consequently‚ he lost his Cricket SA contract in April.

But Parnell found success for Worcestershire in the T20 competition this season‚ in which he was ninth and 12th in the averages and strike rates among bowlers who had sent down at least 30 overs.

He was dismissed only once in his five innings‚ and his average of 57.00 was fifth on the list of batsmen who had five or more trips to the crease. Parnell took 1/32 to help Worcestershire beat Sussex by five wickets in the final on Saturday.

"I am still young [at 29] and I have plenty to offer to any environment that I’m in‚" Parnell was quoted as saying.

"It seems the Proteas have moved passed me since I’ve not really had any communications since I had my injury [in January] and then not going to India for the A tours [in August] was another indication."

Cricket in SA appears to be done with Parnell‚ but he is a long way from being done with cricket elsewhere.