TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THE Vernon Philander debacle had nothing to do with Andrew Hudson’s decision to quit as SA’s selection convenor. Despite two major transformation scandals he leaves without regrets. And his replacement should know their way around international cricket – which rules out the rest of the current panel.
As a player the most controversial thing about Hudson was a cover drive more arresting to the onlooker than Graeme Pollock’s. The same cannot be said of his imminent departure from cricket’s suits and return to banker’s pinstripes.
Why the dignity of an out-of-form, out-of-sorts Philander was sacrificed by picking him for the World Cup semi-final last month remains a smouldering secret. Several sources have told Sunday Times the decision was ordered on transformation grounds, a charge Cricket SA have squirmed out of by admitting chief executive Haroon Lorgat was “consulted” on the team’s composition.
Asked what role the scandal played in his resignation Hudson said, “None at all. Even before the World Cup I thought five years was enough. This is not a bitterness thing.”
So what really happened with Philander?
“I’m not prepared to re-open that situation. It’s not the time to do that and it’s not my place. What’s happened has happened. We didn’t win the World Cup so let’s try win the next one.”
But he was prepared to say: “It’s also important to win the trust of the players – that they know selection is a proper process. If the players get a sense that there are other agendas at play it’s not healthy.”
SA’s teams averaged more than four players of colour during Hudson’s tenure. Even so one side of the transformation divide will remember him for the Philander fandango and, in December, 2012, leading Thami Tsolekile to believe he would play in the upcoming test series against New Zealand. Instead AB de Villiers was behind the stumps.
But Hudson said, “I don’t have any regrets. Everything was done with a lot of thought and input from stakeholders. Maybe if I had done a few things differently … there’s always room for improvement.”
He had clear views on who should succeed him: “They should have some sort of international experience or have been close to the international scene.”
Shafiek Abrahams, Hussein Manack and Linda Zondi are the other selectors. The sum total of their international experience is Abrahams’ sole one-day international.