Prospects for light at the end of the tunnel that has become naming SA’s next coach receded on Thursday when‚ instead of taking a decision‚ Cricket SA passed the buck to a committee to help them.
The contract of current coach Russell Domingo expires after SA’s tour to England‚ which is scheduled to end on August 8.
Domingo said on Saturday he had not been informed of the process for filling the position.
He was asked on Tuesday‚ at a media conference before the squad’s departure for England‚ whether SA’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 Cricket SA’s board.
A Cricket SA release on Thursday said a panel consisting of their lead independent director‚ Norman Arendse‚ cricket administrators Rihan Richards and Oupa Nkagisang‚ and former SA 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 Cricket SA 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 it did not say was that‚ as Domingo’s contract had been extended three times‚ sound corporate governance meant Cricket SA had to either offer him a new deal or replace him.
That neither has happened in almost four months is a distraction SA do not need as they bid to win a major trophy and beat England.
But instead of explaining the reasons for the inaction and delay‚ Cricket SA 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.
"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," he said.
Nenzani did not detail what was "uninformed" about reporting on the issue. Neither did he spell out what was "obvious" about Cricket SA’s reasons for not resolving the matter.
The most valuable nugget to be gleaned 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 re-appointed‚ that could mean SA’s new coach and his assistants will have 27 days to settle into their positions before the Test series against Bangladesh starts.
More sensibly‚ the board have decided to retain the national selection panel‚ which has served the game with aplomb and insight.
Another potentially good decision was the appointment of Robin Peterson as the "eminent past player" representative on Cricket SA’s committee to replace Ashwell Prince.