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Administrative ‘Chaos’ Hastened Philander’s International Retirement

  • 3 min read

South African fast bowler Vernon Philander has said that “chaos” in the country’s cricket administration hastened his decision to retire from international cricket.

In an interview with the Afrikaans-language newspaper Rapport, Philander also said that a controversial decision to select him for the 2015 Cricket World Cup semi-final in New Zealand had affected him as well as Kyle Abbott, who was left out of the side despite being in outstanding form.

Philander, 35, retired from international cricket after the final Test against England last month, having announced his decision before the series started.

He said the problems in Cricket South Africa’s administration, which led to the suspension of chief executive Thabang Moroe and calls for the board to resign, had been a factor in his decision to quit the South African team and sign a Kolpak deal with English county Somerset.

“As a player, you get to the point where you’ve had enough,” he said. “CSA’s former management only started looking after themselves, the players were the last ones they worried about. Too many things went wrong in the last while, I had to decide what is the best road ahead for me. Then I decided to retire.

“I am 35 now, with a decent career behind me, but I would have considered playing longer if not for the chaos in our cricket administration.”

He said that recent changes, which include the appointment of former captain Graeme Smith as interim director of cricket, had brought “more credibility back now at CSA. Hopefully we’ll see a turnaround in fortunes at administrative level and on the playing field.”

Philander gave his version of one of the most controversial selection decisions in South African cricket history, when he was selected for the 2015 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Auckland.

Philander had been injured during the tournament and did not play in South Africa’s convincing win over Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals. The team management wanted to field an unchanged team but it was widely reported that on instructions from South Africa they were forced to pick a fit-again Philander ahead of the in-form Abbott because the quarter-final team had included only three players of colour, instead of the target of four.

“I blatantly and openly told the coach (Russell Domingo) that the best player should play,” said Philander. “He told me: ‘You are the best player for the day, you’re playing. But they were clearly not open and honest with me and Kyle. There were definitely things going on behind closed doors.”

Philander said that although he and Abbott were good friends, “both of us took a bit of a knock because of what happened there.”

South Africa were beaten in a dramatic semi-final.

Abbott became a high-profile Kolpak signing when he announced an agreement to play for Hampshire midway through a Test series against Sri Lanka in January 2017.