South Africa unfazed over Domingo’s future: Amla
As the five-match series against Sri Lanka continues with the second One-Day International at Kingsmead on Wednesday (February 1), South Africa are doing their best to move on from the distraction of coach Russell Domingo’s future.
On a day when everything went to plan on the field, South Africa’s bubble was popped by an unexpected pin wielder during the series opener. South Africa were midway through an eight-wicket dismantling of Sri Lanka on Saturday when news dropped from Cricket South Africa (CSA) that Domingo would need to reapply for his post at the end of the England tour.
Domingo had been informed prior to the start of play about CSA’s decision, which had been made the previous day. But CSA’s failure to provide a reason for the decision left everyone to speculate about why Domingo’s future was suddenly under threat. If there was an innocent cause behind it, such as a need to explore all options for the post going forward, then it was not communicated to the players.
“It is a tough one for the team and I’m speaking on behalf of the guys. It is a bitter pill to swallow,” AB de Villiers said after the game. “It’s really difficult for us to take in, and there will certainly be a few sad hours in the changing room now afterwards.”
But with a series on the go, any sadness or concern about the long-term uncertainty is being pushed aside.
“It hasn’t affected the coaches too much. They still seem extremely motivated and have been professional in everything they have done,” Hashim Amla said on Tuesday. “It’s still six months away, which is a long time. In between that we have so many different challenges to keep our focus on. That has been the beauty of the team – that there haven’t been any distractions. It’s about what is next. We understand that we play for a bigger cause.”
For his part, Domingo has done a sound job of moulding the South African one-day side ahead of June’s Champions Trophy. South Africa have won their last seven ODIs, which have included a 5-0 whitewashing of Australia, and are on track to arrive at the tournament with all of their bases covered – despite the sudden defection of Kyle Abbott and Rille Rossouw to county cricket.
“Winning our last series as convincingly as we did, being 1-0 up here, it bodes very well,” said Amla. “The coaches and captains have tried to put the structures in place for us to succeed and it’s pleasing that everything has been working really well. Nobody is under the illusion that everything is hunky-dory and it will all be up and up and up. There will be some challenges in between this phase and the Champions Trophy, and if it comes then you have to be patient and go through it. But at the moment we’re playing very good cricket, the team seems well settled and we just want to take it from here.”
For Amla, the ever-present and ever-steady batsman in the top order, things are also looking up. Earlier this month a prolonged lean patch left him without a half-century in 10 Test innings. But that monkey was shrugged off in his 100th Test at the Wanderers, and after enjoying nearly two weeks away from the game following the conclusion of the Test series, he began the one-day series with 57 on Saturday.
“For anyone who has some idea of the game, they know that sometimes you go through those patches,” he reflected. “There are much better players – guys like [Sachin] Tendulkar – who have gone through similar. That’s the nature of the game. You have to be patient and know that you’ll go through all types of challenges. Fortunately I’ve had two good innings now, but that’s in the past and it’s about what is happening in the future. We’re all looking forward to this game.