CSA appoints team to probe alleged political interference

A team will investigate alleged political interference ahead of the Proteas World Cup semi-final match.

FILE: South African captain AB de Villiers kneels down after New Zealand beat the Proteas in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals at Eden Park in Auckland on 24 March 2015. Picture: Cricket SA.

JOHANNESBURG - The President of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Chris Nenzani has appointed members of the CSA Board to conduct a review into alleged political interference ahead of the Proteas World Cup semifinal match against New Zealand.

The governing body has released a statement on the matter, saying further investigations will be done in due course. That after the team's High Performance coach Mike Horn said comments he made to that end at the Laureus World Sports Awards were taken out of context.

Horn says he is not aware of any political interference in the selection of the team ahead of South Africa's World Cup semi-final.

In a letter to CSA, Horn apologised for what he labels "this controversy", saying, "if this event would hurt the feelings of the management team and players, it was not my intention and I sincerely apologise."

Horn has not denied what he said, but insists it were portrayed incorrectly.

Members of the CSA Board will now conduct a review of the matter with a statement set to be released in due course.

This week, Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula responded to claims made by the Horn, calling his allegations of political interference as hogwash.

Vernon Philander had recently recovered from a minor injury, while Abbott had performed well in the quarterfinal against Sri Lanka.

Mbalula said there is no basis to Horn's claim and he needs to come forward with tangible evidence to support his allegations.

"What Mike Horn is doing is just being mischievous and I don't know how such people find their way into the leadership ranks. He must substantiate it to say that indeed there was political interference, a call was made by a so and so."

The minister added that what Horn is claiming is immaterial, saying if changes had to be made, the decision was the coach's to make and not to be influenced by politicians.

"In any squad ahead of any game, changes have to be made by the selectors for one reason or the other. The question here is was that change politically aggravated and I'm saying there was no such a thing from my side."

Mbalula called on Horn to be more specific with his claims and ask the relevant people in charge of the team.

"Don't be ambiguous, be unambiguous and state it like it is that Mbalula made this call and I'm saying there is no such; I don't select squads. Just go ask AB de Villiers, ask coach Russell Domingo whether I made that call."