Philander selection: CSA clears bosses

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CSA released a atatement on Saturday, saying he organisation had completed its own investigation into the saga regarding the selection of bowler Vernon Philander in the semi-final match in Auckland on March 24.

Cricket South Africa had found nothing untoward about Philander’s selection.

President Chris Nenzani said: “Based on the (findings), and noting Mike Horn’s clarifications contained in his letter of apology, it is clear the allegations made in various media are unfounded and mischievous.

“The Cricket South Africa Board is duly satisfied with the findings of the review panel and the performances of the selection panel, the coach and chief executive.”

Horn, a consultant to the management team, had hinted at political interference last week, before saying he had been quoted out of context.

The review panel comprised three independent directors who focused on the team selection process, the allegations of political interference, and further allegations of an SMS sent by Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat to Proteas coach Russell Domingo on the eve of the match.

The review took place on Friday, when the panel met Lorgat, Domingo and the convenor of selectors, Andrew Hudson, to establish the facts.

The investigation made the following findings:

* The team selection process and announcement followed the usual and well-established practice and procedures of the selection panel. These procedures include consulting with the chief executive on matters of transformation.

* Having successfully undergone a fitness test, Philander was declared fit and available for selection by the medical team. Direct enquiry with him by the coach confirmed his readiness to play.

* Hudson, Domingo and Lorgat confirmed they had received, individually or collectively, no instructions or no interference from anyone, specifically not from the Minister of Sport or from members of the Cricket South Africa Board.

* Hudson and Domingo confirmed, on behalf of the selection panel, that they are all aware and follow the protocols and guidelines established for the selectors as reconfirmed by the Board in 2013. These protocols include transformation guidelines which require the panel to consider, on merit, the selection of at least four players of colour in the starting XI.

* The convenor and coach had consulted Lorgat who had impressed upon them the need to properly consider the best XI, bearing in mind the transformation guidelines.

* Hudson and Domingo confirmed the usual rigorous selection debates had taken place and had signed off the final XI with their full support and confidence.

* The convenor, coach and selectors had confirmed their satisfaction in the final XI with specific reference in this matter to the fact that Philander was a regular and first choice player, particularly in New Zealand conditions.

* Hudson and Domingo explained their understanding of the guidelines and confirmed there were many occasions when more than four players of colour were selected. On the rare occasion that three players were selected, this was because of exceptional circumstances, such as injury. In all cases the determining criteria was merit selection.

* Domingo confirmed that he never received an SMS from Lorgat as alleged, and Lorgat in turn confirmed that he had never sent an SMS to Domingo.

The Board and Cricket South Africa would make no further comment, it said.

Hours after the statement was released, the DA said it had written to the chairman of the Portfolio Committee for Sport and Recreation requesting a parliamentary inquiry into the allegations of political interference.

DA spokesman on sport, Solly Malatsi, said a parliamentary inquiry was the best intervention to “clear the dark cloud hanging over this matter, which has serious implications for the true independence of national sports teams”.

“External interference in technical matters of a sports team is a serious violation of local and international sports practices,” Malatsi said.

“While the leadership of Cricket South Africa has flatly denied external interference in the selection of the team, allegations of political interference of this magnitude should be investigated by Parliament.

“The latest revelations by the Proteas’ conditioning coach, Mr Mike Horn, and Cricket South Africa’s insistence of silence from those parties allegedly implicated in this matter, is not sufficiently reassuring to the public that there was no undue pressure to change the team.

“Furthermore, Cricket South Africa’s own finding that there was no interference in the team selection is questionable, given that senior figures in its federations are allegedly implicated in the saga. This brings into question the genuine independence of Cricket South Africa’s investigation.”

Cricket South Africa has investigated the selection of Vernon Philander in the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup.

Original source: Philander selection: CSA clears bosses

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