Cape Town, April 17:
South Africa’s high performance coach Mike Horn has said he believes the Proteas team was changed for the World Cup semi-final match against New Zealand last month to meet race quota requirements, a move that left the team disbalanced.
Motivational speaker Horn has been working with the Proteas team since 2011 as a ‘high performance coach’ and was part of their World Cup team to provide inspiration as they chased the title in Australia and New Zealand.
Controversy erupted after the team that beat Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals was changed to include an injured fast bowler Vernon Philander ahead of the in-form Kyle Abbott — South Africa were beaten at the semi-finals stage by New Zealand.
Philander’s selection raised the number of ‘players of colour’ — a term which encompasses black Africans, mixed-race people and those of Asian descent — to four, the same quota number that was previously implemented until it was abolished in 2007.
“What actually happened was the team was the team that played against Sri Lanka (in the quarter-finals),” Horn was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Friday.
“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,” added Horn.
“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.”
Media reports earlier stated Philander’s selection was an order from the Cricket South Africa (CSA), a claim denied by CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat. (IANS)