An investigation by Cricket South Africa has confirmed there was no political interference in team selections for the Proteas’ semi-final against New Zealand.
CSA have made public the findings of the enquiry into the alleged interference in team selection, which has been dragging on since the Proteas lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
The CSA board issued a statement after its president, Chris Nenzani, commissioned certain board directors to conduct a factual examination of the team selection process for the match against New Zealand.
How the South African public is expected to believe a report compiled by the organisation who is in the middle of the whole controversy, is another matter entirely but the independence of the report must be questioned.
The review comes after Mike Horn, the high performance coach and motivational speaker who helped the Proteas at the World Cup, said on Thursday that there was political interference in the team selection.
Horn, however, backtracked on Saturday, claiming he was quoted out of context and denying that there was any political interference in team selection for the semi-final.
Horn wrote a letter to CSA clarifying his comments and apologising for the controversy the initial story caused.
The review by CSA board members took place on Friday, April 17 when the panel met with CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat, coach Russell Domingo and the convenor of selectors, Andrew Hudson, to establish the facts.
Below are the factual findings arising out of the examination:
1. 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;
2. Having successfully undergone a fitness test, Philander was declared fit and available for selection by the medical team. Direct inquiry with him by the coach confirmed his readiness to play;
3. 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 CSA Board;
4. 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;
5. 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;
6. Hudson and Domingo confirmed the usual rigorous selection debates had taken place and that they had signed off the final XI with their full support and confidence;
7. 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.
8. Hudson and Domingo explained their understanding of the guidelines and confirmed that there were many occasions when more than four players of colour were selected. On the rare occasion that 3 players were selected, this was due to exceptional circumstances such as injury. In all cases the determining criteria was merit selection.
9. 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.
‘Based on the above, and also noting Mike Horn’s clarifications contained in his letter of apology, it is clear that the allegations made in various media are unfounded and mischievous. The CSA Board is duly satisfied with the findings of the review panel and the performances of the selection panel, the coach and Chief Executive,’ commented Nenzani.
‘We would like to thank all parties for their honesty and willingness to cooperate in this process.
‘The Board would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Proteas on their proud World Cup campaign and acknowledged that they had given it their best shot but were narrowly beaten by an equally good team on the day,’ added Nenzani
‘The Board fully realizes that this is an emotive topic and one that is not easy to quell. However, the Board hopes that this matter will now be put to rest,’ Nenzani concluded.
The Board and CSA will make no further comment on this matter.”