Cricket South Africa has released the findings of a special commitee tasked with investigating allegations of an SMS sent to force Vernon Philander into the Proteas match day XI for the Cricket World Cup semi-final against New Zealand last month. CSA President Chris Nenzani commissioned certain Board directors to conduct a factual examination of the team selection process and the review panel comprised three independent directors who focused on the team selection process, the allegations of political interference and further allegations of a SMS sent by CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, to Proteas coach, Russell Domingo, on the eve of the match. The review took place on Friday 17 April 2015 when the panel met with Lorgat, 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.
Nenzani says: ‘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. The Board fully realises 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.’