Time for #DomingoMustFall?


In cricket, as in most sports, when a team goes on a losing streak so severe that their reputation is at risk of being demolished, the coach finds himself shown the door, so has the time come for #DomingoMustFall?

South Africa coach Russell Domingo has presided over one of the Test side's worst runs of form in a decade, and has former skipper Graeme Smith publicly questioning the team's management. And privately thinking, 'What the heck have these guys done to my team?!'

When 'Biff' retired last year, after more than a decade as skipper, the Proteas were the number one Test side by some way, had not lost a series overseas in eight years, and were the most feared Test team in the game.

Since then, and Domingo's appointment as head coach in May 2013, they've lost that ranking and could end this series against England as low as fourth place, their unbeaten run overseas ended in disaster, and they recorded their two lowest innings scores (79 and 83) in the past three months alone.

They've won just one of the last 10 Tests they've played, and that was against the West Indies in January last year. Two series defeats in a row? Almost unheard of for the fans of this generation.

Imagine if Domingo coached/managed a football team. Like Jose Mourinho, David Moyes, Brendan Rogers, and Rafa Benitez all discovered, leading a top team doesn't guarantee safety when the results aren't coming. Heck, ask Heyneke Meyer. Or Peter Moores.

Smith, and most Proteas fans, were left open-mouthed on the weekend as the Proteas lost what should have been a closely contested five-day game inside three days, with the senior batsmen looking like they'd just stepped out of a provincial B-side.

The former skipper pondered the team's attitude, their negativity, their seeming lack of desire, and said someone would need to be held accountable. International cricket, more so than most sports, is a mental game, and maintaining that is the coach's main job.

Look at how Trevor Bayliss has turned England around. He took the same set of players that couldn't organise a piss-up in a bar, let alone their tactics on the field, and turned them into the current outfit, mainly thanks to a change in outlook and training methods. 'Mindset', if you will.

Another example: Australia sent Mickey Arthur packing, because the players didn't like him too much and it showed in the results. They brought in Darren Lehmann, who trusted them to get on with the job, and it's worked wonders, even with the recent dramatic change in personnel. The Ashes in England notwithstanding…

Gary Kirsten was successful as the Proteas' coach because he had a similar approach to the players: Let them get on with it, treat them like adults, step in when necessary, and let consultants help with the technicalities. Domingo was his able assistant, but much like a domestic player's step up to the big leagues, the transition has proven tough.

Domingo has perhaps been unlucky in that his tenure has coincided with the retirements of Jacques Kallis and Smith, amongst others, and he's had trouble replacing the skipper, the openers, as well as the wicketkeeping void that Mark Boucher left in 2012.

But that doesn't negate the fact that the team is not responding to his leadership. A constant shuffle of backroom staff hasn't helped, nor have the injuries to his two best bowlers (not allowing football to be played at warm ups, like some other sides have decided, would help).

Given the 'end of an era' feel the side has, and the break from Tests for the next six months, it's time for a change. Is there a spare Australian coach lying about?

Lindsay du Plessis