Russell Domingo is fast stamping his own authority on the national cricket team.
It is a management style centred on being forthright and honest, and this approach has secured an agreement with Jacques Kallis, with the veteran South African all-rounder now committing himself to more one-day cricket in the build-up to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Domingo sat down with Kallis yesterday to discuss his ODI future as he has not played an ODI for 18 months. This absence included the mid-year Champions Trophy and the recent limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka, where the inexperience of the Proteas, especially the batting, was severely exposed.
“Jacques and I had a good chat. It is definitely a relief to have clarity about his future because there were many questions surrounding his availability. He will only play the Tests against Pakistan in the UAE, but he has stated he wants to be part of the plans for the home series against India,” Domingo said last night.
Kallis, who played under Domingo during his two-year stint at the Warriors where he helped the Eastern Cape-based side to two limited-overs trophies after a lengthy barren spell, was similarly eager to state his hunger to return to ODI cricket.
“Playing for my country has always been both a huge honour and a privilege. It remains my aspiration to be available for the 2015 World Cup but, at the same time I know as an all-rounder approaching my 38th birthday, I will need to assess my future season by season,” he said.
“At the moment I am feeling mentally and physically refreshed and I am looking forward to carry on playing for my country as long as possible.”
Kallis’s availability will be a huge fillip for Domingo in the build-up to the World Cup. Although his predecessor Gary Kirsten had a “career management” plan for Kallis, in much the same way in which he planned Indian maestro’s Sachin Tendulkar path to the 2011 World Cup, it is become abundantly clear that South Africa need Kallis out on the playing park, or at least the tour bus, but definitely not on the golf course.
And it is not a principle based simply on the runs and wickets that he could contribute. Instead, with the jury still out on AB de Villiers’s captaincy, the experience gained by Kallis over the course of his 321 ODIs will be invaluable.
“Jacques’ experience will make a huge difference. The younger players can only benefit from watching how a great player like him handles situations, and also the little bits on information he passes on,” said Domingo, who is eager to create a “mentoring” culture, much like Sri Lanka have with Sangakkara and Jayawardene.
Domingo will continue with JP Duminy at No3 when the Proteas make their way to the Arabian Desert, saying “I like what I saw in JP”.
SA’s woes further up the order could also be solved, with opener Graeme Smith “looking strong” according to Domingo, who is confident the Test captain will have recovered from his ankle operation in time for the UAE trip in October. - The Star