Cape Town – Cricket South Africa threw the cat among the pigeons during the first one-day international between the Proteas and Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth on Saturday with a statement seemingly hinting at upheaval over Russell Domingo’s post as national coach.
Buried very deep in a media release focused primarily on other, more structural matters in the domestic game, was a portion reading: “The Board of Directors also resolved to commence the recruitment process for the appointment of the Proteas head coach to take charge after the tour to the UK until after the 2019 edition of the ICC World Cup.”
Domingo, 42, has been coach since taking over from Gary Kirsten in May 2013, having previously been the former Test opening batsman’s assistant.
The Port Elizabeth-born Domingo was granted a contract extension in last October last year, following a dramatic revival in fortunes by the Proteas. Initially supposed to have the reins up to the end of April this year, he was given a vote of confidence to the end of August instead.
That gave him the liberty of knowing he would be in charge for the glamour assignments of the ICC Champions Trophy (June) in England and Wales – another chance for SA to bury the long-time major tournament bogey – as well as the major, all-formats bilateral combat against the English including four Tests for the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy.
Since the middle of 2016, the revitalised Proteas have accounted for New Zealand in a Test series, clean-swept Australia 5-0 in a home ODI series, beaten the Baggy Greens 2-1 away in Tests, and trounced the ‘Lankans 3-0 in a home Test series.
If anything, Domingo seems to have come more into his own than at any prior stage of his tenure at the helm.
But the statement on Saturday seems to raise at least some doubt about his future status.
Asked for clarification, CSA spokesperson Altaaf Kazi reminded Sport24 that Domingo’s contract did end after the England tour.
Perhaps instructively, he added the word “confirm” to the earlier CSA statement, saying: “The process to appoint/confirm a coach post the England tour has begun … Russell can apply for the position.”
Attempts to establish whether Domingo possibly intended stepping down voluntarily after August had been unsuccessful at the time of writing, with the coach himself preoccupied by his duties in the active ODI at St George’s Park.
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