While national cricket captain AB de Villiers stopped short of saying there was interference in team selection at last year’s World Cup in his newly released autobiography, he should be lauded for taking the first steps towards opening up about what went on behind the scenes.
South Africa lost to New Zealand in a rain-affected, final-over semifinal thriller in Auckland. In the aftermath of the defeat, claims were made there had been late interference from back home, insisting Vernon Philander, struggling with a hamstring injury, replace the in-form Kyle Abbott for the match, lifting the number of players of colour in the team to four. However, the Proteas had fielded three in the quarterfinal and in several other matches at the World Cup.
Cricket South Africa boss Haroon Lorgat has always denied there was interference.
“It depressed me even to think of my team-mates in these outdated racial terms, as white or coloured,” revealed De Villiers. “I sincerely believe we were genuine new South Africans, blind to race and colour.”
Experienced cricketers Faf du Plessis and Dale Steyn this week touched on how certain decisions last year hurt the national team. It’s time to open up, admit what went wrong and move forward.