Embattled Proteas coach Russell Domingo says some senior players are playing too much cricket and losing their focus on the national side.
At a press conference on his arrival from the Caribbean where the Proteas were knocked out of the tournament by the West Indies, he said: ‘Some senior players are playing all the formats as well as competitions around the world. It’s concerning. When you’re playing that much cricket, it’s difficult to maintain very high standards.
‘There is a lot of cricket being played, a lot of money to be made. The No 1 priority should be South Africa. The big challenge for me is making sure international cricket is the main priority for my players.’
Proteas captain AB de Villiers, in the immediate aftermath of the series, in which the Proteas surrendered matches they should have won before losing by a hundred runs to the West Indies, said that South Africa had the ‘best coaches in the world’, and that the players had let them down.
‘The players didn’t let me down,’ said Domingo. ‘I’m not gong to sit here and blame them. I feel let down by certain performances.’
He pointed out that the Proteas had a long tour to India, took on England in a three-month series and jetted off to an ultimately disappointing World T20. After which some players took up contracts in the IPL and went straight from that to the Tri-Nations series.
‘Cricket doesn’t get played on paper,’ said Domingo. ‘You can have all the big names you want, but they need to perform on the pitch. Players need to be hungry to represent and perform at optimum level for their country.
But he was determined to carry on. ‘I’m not the kind of guy who will quit so I need to see what happens. I’ve got some time at home to mull things over.’
CSA might also want to mull things over. After the Proteas’ disastrous showing at the World T20, CEO Haroon Lorgat announced the formation of a panel to examine the shortcomings of the national team. That was quickly disbanded over a lack of timeline and guidelines.
Assembled in March‚ the group included 1995 World Cup-winning Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar‚ former South African Test batsman Adam Bacher‚ sports physiologist Ross Tucker and CSA independent director Dawn Mokhobo.
‘We did begin work on it, but ultimately we couldn’t agree with CSA on issues related to scope‚ process‚ time and resources,’ said Tucker.