JOHANNESBURG - Apologies for repeating this line, but with his tenure now seemingly over, it’s worth repeating that Russell Domingo and I didn’t see eye to eye and there was a mistaken belief from his side that I didn’t want him to coach the national team some time around the first half of last year.
That wasn’t the case. The team were playing poorly, had had a shambolic World T20 and lost back-to-back Test series to England and India.
But Domingo had persevered through those difficult times, tinkering and trying to find the right balance in a team that were still coming to terms with the absence of giants of the post-isolation era such as Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.
Domingo felt the pressure - as any coach/manager would when results weren’t going his way. I was critical. He didn’t like that - and fair enough. But he remained genuinely open and frank.
The same can’t be said for his bosses at Cricket South Africa. They released news that he would need to re-apply for his post in the middle of an international match, back in January.
It took Cricket SA until May to appoint a five-man selection panel to identify who that person should be. Meanwhile, there’s been very little communication from CSA with the current management and coaching staff.
Perhaps that’s not necessary, but it does seem mean given that Domingo has been part of the coaching set-up for six years.
Domingo still wants to play a part in South African cricket, and given the kind of experience that’s been lost to the sport in the country - for whatever reason - his kind of intellectual capital is something Cricket SA can ill afford to lose.
What CSA should do is have the decency to pick up the phone and play open cards with him. Regardless of the errors he’s committed (and who among CSA’s administrators haven’t made mistakes?), Domingo’s a decent man who deserves better than to not have been talked to at all about what the future may hold for him in South African cricket.
The England tour has been a desperately disappointing one for South African cricket - not one series in the different formats of the game was won. Of the 13 international matches played on the tour - across One-Day and T20 series against England, the Champions Trophy and the four Tests - South Africa won just four times - a win percentage of 30.76%. That isn’t all the coach’s fault.
Remember it was Cricket SA that held a “launch” in London in the middle of the tour for its new Global T20 League, parading players around like cattle at an auction.
Significant challenges await Domingo’s replacement, and CSA would be better placed putting greater emphasis on their primary asset, and ensuring that coach gets all the necessary assistance required, lest the side lurch into the summer with all the same problems that have beset it on this tour.
Hopefully, CSA will also find its humane side as well, and treat that new coach and the outgoing one with a little bit more respect. They both deserve it.