Mike Horn, who was with the Proteas at the World Cup as a high performance and ‘mental’ coach, has admitted that the team that played in the semi-final against New Zealand was changed to meet unofficial quota requirements.
Horn is the first member of the World Cup squad to publicly admit that the team was changed, which meant he had to provide extra support for the players who were unhappy with the decision, reports EWN.
Horn’s revelation is at odds with statements made by Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat and sports minister Fikile Mbalula who have consistently denied that they pressured the selectors to include Vernon Philander ahead of Kyle Abbott for political reasons.
There were also reports that Lorgat sent an SMS in the early hours of the morning of the match to coach Russell Domingo telling him to pick a fourth player of colour in the starting XI.
At this moment in time CSA are not planning to respond to Horn’s revelation, with Lorgat currently being in Dubai.
Horn, speaking ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Shanghai on Wednesday night, confirmed that the team was changed from the one that was originally selected for the game.
‘What actually happened was the team was the team that played against Sri Lanka. We’re not going into any politics, but it had a role to play. I had to do a little bit of talk to the guys after the team was selected and a little bit of energy was taken away from the quarter-finals where the right team played.’
Horn says that whatever decision was taken he accepts personal responsibility for not enabling the team to overcome the subsequent unhappiness ahead of the match.
‘It is what it is, I take it as it is. It doesn’t matter how politics or the quota influenced the players. I think I failed a bit in my job as motivator or as high performance coach in the way that I believed the Proteas could win the World Cup.
‘My job was to basically say that, listen guys now we have to give a little bit more than we gave before. We have to fill gaps and now we have to make the difference with less but give more, in a way.’