The organisation’s president, Chris Nenzani, confirmed on Saturday he had appointed a team of Cricket SA’s Board members to interrogate whether Kyle Abbott had been removed from the starting XI - first picked by Andrew Hudson, Russell Domingo and AB de Villiers - and replaced by Vernon Philander allegedly at the behest of Cricket SA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat. It is believed the move was done to satisfy a quota policy which demanded four “players of colour” be included in the starting XI.
South Africa dramatically lost the match in the final over when Grant Elliott hit Dale Steyn for six over long-on.
Lorgat has vehemently denied sending Domingo any SMS, WhatsApp or BBM messages instructing South Africa’s head coach to change the side. It is a policy for CSA that the starting side has to be approved by the Board before taking the field of play.
CSA have battled to keep a lid on the storm that broke when reports first emerged that the team may have been changed from the one originally picked to play in the semi-final. They have involved the Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, issuing a denial about him playing a role and followed that with the statement about no SMS, WhatsApp or BBM being used to communicate with the coach and the chief of selectors Hudson.
CSA have not said how long the inquiry will take.
Meanwhile, Mike Horn, the renowned adventurer, who worked as a high-performance mentor with the South African squad during the latter stages of the tournament, on Saturday sought to step back from the controversy ignited by his remarks last week that the side had been changed from the one initially picked.
In a letter to CSA, which the organisation released on Saturday, Horn said his comments about “interference” in the side’s selection were “taken completely out of context”.
Horn said in an interview with Independent Media at the Laureus Sports Awards in Shanghai last week, that he’d had to ask the players to give “a little more” implying that they were upset following changes to the starting side for the semi-final. “I am disappointed at the way my comments were portrayed and a part of me feels let down by the negativity these reports have caused,” he said in the letter to CSA.
“First of all, I apologise for this controversy. If this event would hurt the feelings of the management team and the players, it was not my intention and I sincerely apologise.”
Weekend ArgusCricket SA will launch a probe into the selection of the Proteas' starting side for the World Cup semi-final.
Original source: CSA to probe Proteas ‘interference’