CSA must think long and hard whether to allow Russell Domingo to see out his contract, which expires in April 2017.
Domingo’s contract was extended to April next year in June 2015, but with results continuing to take a nosedive during the current tour of England Domingo is running out of time to save his job. He seems to be the obvious fall guy if things continue the way they are.
Domingo took over from Gary Kirsten in 2013 and has had mixed success. While it is well known that coaches do not have the kind of power and influence in cricket as they have in, for example, rugby, someone will have to answer the tough questions if South Africa lose the current ODI series against England.
From the outside there seems to be a lot wrong with South African cricket at the moment, but it would be unfair to lay everything at Domingo’s door. Professional coaching in the South African landscape is becoming increasing difficult, especially at the highest level.
Transformation targets are at an all-time high which means coaches and captains are sometimes forced to field a team that they do not necessarily have any faith in. However, the players of colour currently playing for the Proteas in Tests and ODIs are the best in the country and good enough to be there.
With his back against the wall, Domingo’s first line of defence will be that he is currently overseeing a team in ‘transition’, when in reality it’s injuries to key players, specifically in the bowling department, which have been a bigger issue. Having said that, the batsmen continue to underperform which means the Proteas, as a collective, are failing to compete.
South Africa’s depth is being tested at a time when they can least afford it.
Since Domingo took over from Kirsten, South Africa’s notable milestones include winning a Test series in Sri Lanka for the first time, winning a play-off match at the World Cup (in the quarter-final against Sri Lanka) and beating India 3-2 at home in an ODI series.
Notable disappointments have been a Test series loss at home to Australia, a first ever ODI series loss in Bangladesh and back-to-back Test series losses to India and England, causing South Africa to surrender their No 1 world ranking.
The manner of defeats, especially in Tests, have been the most alarming factor at a time when the Proteas have had to cope without the services of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander and the uncertainty over AB de Villiers’ future, which created an unwanted sideshow during the recent Test series.
Taking everything into consideration, CSA will have to decide whether or not Domingo is the right man to take the Proteas forward after a poor 12 months on the international stage. Public opinion of him is at an all-time low and failure to at least reach the play-offs of the T20 World Cup might be the catalyst to end his time with the national side prematurely.
However, CSA might be reluctant to part ways with Domingo a year early if they have to pay out the rest of his contract.
With the U19s and the national team in disarray and a match-fixing scandal rocking the domestic scene, strong leadership by CSA is needed to steer the ship in the right direction. They can start by picking the best possible candidate to take the national team forward, whether that be Domingo or someone else.