Proteas

Is this the end of the road for Domingo?

Russell Domingo (Getty)
Russell Domingo (Getty)

Cape Town - The fourth Test between the Proteas and England at Old Trafford, starting on Friday, could be Russell Domingo's last as South African coach.

The 42-year-old has been the national coach in all formats since 2013, but his contract with Cricket South Africa (CSA) is up at the end of the England series. 

When CSA first announced earlier in the year that they were advertising for a new head coach, the decision was met with fierce criticism from all parts of the South African sporting landscape.

The Proteas had just secured a memorable Test series win in Australia, had walloped the same opposition 5-0 in an ODI series on home soil and had demolished the Sri Lankans over Christmas. 

It seemed that the national team was in good hands and very much on the right track. 

Domingo, however, was told that if he wanted to stay on he would have to re-apply for his job. 

Eventually, he did, but recent performances have done little to suggest that he will be re-appointed.

In truth, the Proteas can have no issues being 2-1 down in the England series with one match to play. 

They have not been good enough - with bat or ball - and have been comprehensively outplayed in two of the three Tests. 

There has been a lot of disruption. 

Kagiso Rabada was suspended for the second Test, JP Duminy was finally dropped, Vernon Philander was violently ill in the third Test and Domingo has had to make two trips back to South Africa following the tragic car accident that claimed his mother's life in Port Elizabeth. 

It has been a tough month for the national coach and he will perhaps be the biggest motivating factor for the South Africans in Manchester. 

If this is the end, then the players owe their coach one last big performance. 

He has served South Africa well and has gone through some serious highs and lows, but he has generally kept his head along the way and has been a good ambassador for sport in the country.  

That said, if CSA do pull the plug then Domingo can't have too many qualms. 

While the national sides in all three formats were in a generally healthy state under his leadership, there have been too many failures when it mattered most. 

Australia was memorable and will be one of the finest moments of his career, but there are other tours and tournaments where the Proteas have disappointed. 

That India Test series in India, losing to England at home, the 2015 Cricket World Cup, this year's ICC Champions Trophy and now the tour of England. 

The time has perhaps come to look elsewhere, and Lions boss Geoffrey Toyana is a name that keeps cropping up. 

Whatever happens in Manchester is unlikely to have an impact on Domingo's future; the bosses at CSA have surely made their minds up already. 

But while the Proteas may not be able to win back the Basil D'Oliveira trophy, that in no way makes the fourth Test any less important. 

Leveling the series is crucial to South Africa's long-term aim of reclaiming the No 1 spot in the Test rankings, while Faf du Plessis has not lost a series since being appointed Test captain - and will not want to start now.

There may, of course, still be a surprise on the cards. Until official word comes, Domingo should still be considered a possibility moving forward. 

But if this is 'goodbye', then he certainly deserves far more than a thumping in England to send him on his way.

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