Varnals was a right-handed batsman who had a 10-year career in South African domestic first-class cricket, playing for Eastern Province, Transvaal and Natal. Apart from the 1957-58 season, when he made his highest score and averaged more than 50 runs per innings, his record was relatively modest until the 1964-65 season.
Then three centuries, including one for Natal against the MCC touring side, propelled him into the South African cricket team for the first three Tests. He batted a long way down the order and, although he showed useful adhesion in helping to avert defeat in the second match, his highest score in six innings was only 23. When he was dropped after the third match, he retired from first-class cricket.
His only first-class bowling was in the final overs of his final Test match.