Cricket: Prospect Parker forced to hang up bowling boots

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THE cricket career of Saltires prospect Matthew Parker was hanging in the balance last night after he was ordered not to bowl again.

The 22-year-old Forfarshire seamer has failed to fully recover from a serious hip operation in June 2011.

He attempted a comeback at the T20 World Cup qualifiers in March and played several CB40 games for the Saltires during the summer. However, Parker failed to recapture maximum speed after remodelling his action and was omitted from Scotland’s current tour of South Africa.

He saw a specialist on Friday and was given the shattering news that he will be unable to bowl again.

Parker, one of Cricket Scotland’s full-time contracted players, said: “I’m still coming to terms with what the consultant told me.

“But basically the bowling boots have been hung up for good because my hips are not built for the rigours of bowling.”

Parker was rated one of the most promising young bowlers in the country when he made his cap debut in 2008.

He has played 46 times for the Saltires, claiming 63 wickets, while he made a top score of 65 on his First Class debut against Holland in 2010.

Parker, who had attracted interest from Leicestershire and Sussex, may now attempt to rebuild his career as a specialist batsman.

Saltires coach Pete Steindl said: “First and foremost this is a real blow for Matthew. He has worked extremely hard to come back from the operation but it is not to be.

“While our main feelings are for Matthew, it is also a blow for Scotland. I’ve spoken to him and I think he has the ambition to re-invent himself as a batsman. There’s lots of hard work ahead but he has a chance.”

Meanwhile, Parker’s Scotland team-mates return from South Africa today following a month-long tour that saw them win two, draw two and lose eight.

Steindl admitted: “The win ratio is not what we wanted and it’s frustrating that we just failed to get over the line in a few really close games.”