TELFORD VICE in Cape Town
PROSPECTS for light at the end of the tunnel that has become naming South Africa’s next coach receded on Thursday when, instead of taking a decision, Cricket South Africa (CSA) passed the buck to a committee to help them make up their minds.
The contract of South Africa’s current coach, Russell Domingo, expires after South Africa’s tour to England, which is scheduled to end on August 8.
Domingo told reporters on Saturday he had not been informed of the process for filling the position.
He was asked on Tuesday, at a press conference before the squad’s departure for England, whether South Africa’s performance in the Champions Trophy – which forms part of the tour – would affect his chances of keeping his job.
He advised reporters to ask CSA’s board.
A CSA release on Thursday said a panel consisting of their lead independent director, Norman Arendse, cricket administrators Rihan Richards and Oupa Nkagisang, and former South Africa coaches Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons had been nominated to find a replacement.
They will “serve on the selection panel to screen and recommend a suitable candidate to the board for appointment”.
That is the latest twist in a saga that started on January 28, when the last paragraph of a CSA release dealing with franchise and provincial developments said, “The board of directors also resolved to commence the recruitment process for the appointment of the Proteas head coach to take charge after the tour to the UK until after the 2019 edition of the World Cup.”
What that release did not say was that, as Domingo’s contract had been extended three times, sound corporate governance meant CSA had to either offer him a new deal or replace him.
That neither has happened in almost four months is a distraction South Africa do not need as they bid to win a major trophy and beat England.
But, instead of explaining the reasons for the seeming inaction and delay, CSA president Chris Nenzani opted for the easy way out and took aim at the messenger.
“There has been uninformed negativity in the media about the board’s decision to start a process to recruit a coach for the men’s senior national Team,” Thursday’s release quoted Nenzani as saying.
“But the reasons for our doing this were obvious and the committee we have appointed to oversee the process will make sure that we have all bases covered.”
Nenzani didn’t detail what was “uninformed” about reporting on the issue. Neither did he spell out what was “obvious” about CSA’s reasons for not resolving the matter.
The most valuable nugget to be gleaned from the release was: “In terms of the timeline the appointed coach and his management team will be in place by the beginning of September.”
If Domingo is not reappointed, that could mean South Africa’s new coach and their assistants will have 27 days to settle into their positions before the start of the test series against Bangladesh.
More sensibly, the board have decided to retain the national selection panel, which has served the game with aplomb and insight, until the end of the 2019 World Cup.
Another potentially good decision was the appointment of Robin Peterson as the “eminent past player” representative on CSA’s cricket committee to replace Ashwell Prince, who now coaches the Cobras.