CSA deny Philander picked to fill ‘quotas’

South Africa's cricket top brass have vehemently denied that fast bowler Vernon Philander was selected to play in the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand based on his race, after his inclusion saw Kyle Abbott dropped.

Philander had missed a few matches due to a side injury, and had been below par anyway, while Abbott had been excellent in the quarter-finals and was expected to play. Commenters thus put Philander's selection down to racial 'quotas'.

Cricket South Africa president Chris Nenzani denied this, saying in the Sunday Times: "I have not in the past interfered with the selection of the team and I do not intend to do so in the future.

"We have always emphasised that national team selection must be on merit."

CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "There was and is no political interference in our selections.

"We have a selection panel that includes the coach and independent members, and this panel selected all the teams at the World Cup in the same way that they did before the World Cup."

Coach Russell Domingo backed Philander's selection, saying the swinging deck in Auckland was well suited to the paceman, and they felt he was recovered from his injury. Philander left the field during the game due to injury.

Domingo said: "Vernon was fully fit. He had been through all the rehab and fitness tests. He has been a champion bowler for a long period of time in all formats.

"In New Zealand we always felt that the wicket could offer the seamers a little bit and when there is something in the wickets, Vernon is one of the best exponents of that and that's why we went with that."