South Africa high performance coach Mike Horne says the Proteas were forced to change its World Cup semi-final XI to fill a race quota.
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The Proteas lost the match in a thrilling encounter against co-hosts New Zealand, with many blaming the loss on the controversial decision to drop the in-form Kyle Abbott for the injured Vernon Philander.
According to Cricket.com.au, Philander’s selection raised the ‘players of colour’ in the side to four, the same number quota number that was implemented until the ruling was abolished in 2007.
Reports in South African media said Philander’s inclusion was due to a race quota, however Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat slammed the claims as “nonsense”.
Horn told Eyewitness News that politics had a role to play in Philander’s selection.
“What actually happened was the (semi-final) team was the team that played against Sri Lanka,” Horn said.
“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.”
“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.”
The Proteas lost the semi-final in dramatic circumstances, with Black Caps batsman Grant Elliott hitting the winning runs with just three balls remaining.
Philander was unimpressive with the ball, producing figures of 0-52 from eight overs.