Cape Town - Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat has denied that there was political interference from sport minister Fikile Mbalula before the Proteas’ Cricket World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand in Auckland.
According to EWN, there are allegations that senior players were unhappy after Vernon Philander was picked ahead of Kyle Abbott.
It is believed that the in-form Abbott was initially selected, but was then dropped for Philander in order to have additional players of colour in the team.
Philander struggled with injury throughout the tournament and was clearly unfit to play the semi-final against New Zealand.
However, both Lorgat and Mbalula strongly denied any political interference.
Lorgat said he had never heard such “nonsense” during his tenure as team administrator, while Mbalula said team selection had “nothing to do with the minister” and that he “had no space to make such calls”.
Abbott had a stellar tournament, taking 9 wickets at an average of 14.44 (economy 4.19), while Philander took 4 wickets at an average of 33.75 (economy: 4.73).
New Zealand beat South Africa by 4 wickets last Tuesday to advance to the final, which they lost to Australia in Melbourne on Sunday.