Cricket South Africa has denied that the selection of Vernon Philander for the Cricket World Cup 2015 semifinal match against New Zealand was racially motivated as reported by the Sunday Times.
South Africa dropped Kyle Abbott, who had done well against Sri Lanka in the quarterfinal, against the Black Caps and brought in Philander after an absence of two matches due to a hamstring injury. Philander’s ineffectual bowling (8-0-52-0) went a long way towards the Proteas’ failure to defend 298 in 43 overs.
The inclusion of Philander meant that four coloured players – including Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Imran Tahir – featured in the match. The same number of coloured players were required to play under a quota system before it was revoked in 2007. Reacting to the report in the Sunday Times that also said that South Africa captain AB de Villiers was unwilling to play, CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat defended the board. “There was and is no political interference in our selections,” Lorgat said.
“We have a selection panel that includes the coach and independent members, and this panel selected all the teams at the World Cup in the same way that they did before the World Cup.”
CSA president Chris Nenzani added; “I have not in the past interfered with the selection of the team and I do not intend to do so in the future. We have always emphasised that national team selection must be on merit.”
South Africa coach Russell Domingo also lent weight to CSA’s defence. “Vernon was fully fit. He had been through all the rehab and fitness tests,” Domingo said.
“He has been a champion bowler for a long period of time in all formats.
“In New Zealand we always felt that the wicket could offer the seamers a little bit and when there is something in the wickets, Vernon is one of the best exponents of that and that’s why we went with that.” (courtesy cricbuzz.com)