TELFORD VICE, Centurion
TWO acquaintances, one leaving the room, the other entering, passed each other in the aftermath of the fourth test at Centurion on Tuesday.
“We can’t all fit into ours,” Alastair Cook explained to Russell Domingo between SA’s press conference and England’s.
“Pop in to ours,” Domingo replied.
“We’ll come to yours, then,” Cook confirmed with a nod and a smile. “Is that OK?”
“Perfect,” Domingo said with a firm thumbs up.
Sport reveals its worth in these semi-private moments. That adversaries who have for a month now been urging their charges to do to the opposition what would earn them charges of assault, or worse, in the real world can arrange a bout of dressingroom drinks as easy as you like is a wonderfulness.
Not that everything about the post mortem was jolly.
Asked if SA were, having not reached 200 in eight of their 15 completed test innings in the past year, considering appointing a batting consultant, Domingo sighed.
Then he said: “We’ve come up with a name for my book I’m going to write. I’m going to call it, ‘They Think We’re Stupid’
“Everybody thinks we haven’t been looking for a batting consultant, but we’ve been trying for the last year. And not just for a batting consultant – for a batting coach.
“We’ve offered the position to quite a few people and we’ve offered the position while things were going well, not while we were being bowled out for 80 and 90.
“We’ve got somebody in mind. We’re waiting for him to commit to us. He seems pretty keen to do it. We’ve had a few people in mind.
“They all said they were interested but then wouldn’t commit to it simply because travelling is not that fun when you’re away from your family for all that time, when there’s a lot or pressure and criticism you’re faced with when things don’t go well.”
Domingo was also asked if the “penny had dropped” about picking specialists because opener Stephen Cook scored 115 on debut after Stiaan van Zyl, who has batted at No. 3 for much of his franchise career, was discarded after averaging 15.60 in his 11 innings at the top of the order.
“Everyone will have their opinions,” Domingo said. “Stephen Cook’s come in and made a big impact and full credit to him. He deserved his call-up and has played really well in his first test.
“(Van Zyl) wants to continue opening the batting at franchise level. He loves it. He wants to do it. He’s done it before.”
But Domingo knew criticism came with the territory: “When you’re losing there’s always going to be a lot of noise coming from outside but it’s part of the job; you’ve got to deal with it.”
That said, things could get worse before they get better, what with Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander ruled out of the one-day series against England starting next Wednesday with shoulder and ankle injuries.
Steyn’s return has been targetted for the T20 series against Australia in March.
Kyle Abbott will miss the first match of the England ODI rubber because of a hamstring problem.