Proteas coach Russell Domingo continues to support AB de Villiers’ decision to take an indefinite break from Test matches.
A failed campaign in a major tournament comes with it close examination of the way a side is managed and led, and there’s no exemption for the Proteas’ brains trust, as the No 1 side in the world crashed out at the group stages for the first time in a global event since the 2009 Champions Trophy.
While a decision on Russell Domingo’s future with the Proteas isn’t too far away, the future of AB de Villiers as captain is less transparent. De Villiers stated after the India match that he will ‘absolutely’ be playing in the 2019 World Cup, and he would like to lead the side in England in two years’ time too.
An accumulation of factors surrounding De Villiers has led to the public questioning his commitment to the side, as well as his capabilities as a leader. His continued absence from Tests, to go with the failed campaign in which he scored 20 runs from three matches, have all played their part. Domingo however, like the other members of the side throughout the tournament, has rushed to his defence.
‘AB has done a fantastic job; he leads from the front,’ Domingo told the South African media after the eight-wicket defeat to India.
‘A lot of it takes place behind closed doors. People think they see all of it on the field, but there’s a lot more than just making a bowling change. There’s no right or wrong way in cricket.
‘He hasn’t sat out any One Day series, whenever he’s fit he plays’ he continued when questioned about De Villiers’ commitment to the side. ‘A lot of players have done that. By no means can you force players to play a certain format. He can’t be forced to play if he’s not committed to it.
Domingo remained typically coy on his own future. His contract comes to an end at the completion of the England Test series, and while he’s been asked to re-apply, it’s not yet clear whether he intends to. The team didn’t help his cause in this tournament, and he ranked it right up there with the worst performances he’s seen from his side under his reign.
‘It was probably our worst game of cricket in a year,’ he said. ‘We just made poor decisions.
‘There’s no magic wand; a lot of things have been tried and discussed, but unfortunately the results are still the same. We just have to keep trying.’