Domingo has a big job on his hands
Many a young boy, as they watch their heroes at a big stadium in their city will aspire to one day be the one out on that field batting or bowling, scoring a goal or a try in national colours.
It does not turn out that way for everybody, In fact, most do not get anywhere near the national team shirt in whatever sport they have chosen to pursue because they simply do not cut it. It is difficult to get to the top in any field as many compete for the same spots.
Russell Domingo was no different to any other young cricketer when he started playing cricket, but somewhere along the line he decided that continuing to play the game should come second to coaching.
The decision clearly has paid off as he now holds the top job in the land as far as cricket coaching is concerned. I am not a hundred per cent sure whether coaches are actively competitive in terms of vying for the big jobs but would bet my bottom dollar that they try their damndest to land the top job.
So how has Russell Domingo climbed the ranks and ended up as the main man? Well, it would be fair to say he has been through the mill as far as coaching is concerned as he coached under 15s all the way to franchise level in the Eastern Cape.
His association with Gary Kirsten was borne out of a “thinking outside the box mentality” and absence of the fear of someone taking his job if brought in to help. When Gary was yet to coach India, Domingo called on him to assist in the Warriors camp with his technical batting expertise.
A meaningful relationship was forged there and neither could have seen where it would lead further down the track. Kirsten goes off to India, comes back to South Africa and gets the Proteas job and asks Domingo to be his assistant after the latter had two magic seasons with the Warriors.
That association may yet continue in the national side with Kirsten being asked to dip in and out for assistance on the batting front (it would not be surprising and would not be a bad thing at all).
Now that Kirsten has called it a day to spend less time on the road and prioritise his young family, many will not be too sure of the less acclaimed Domingo as he is not a former Protea.
It will be tough to win the hearts and support of some because a lot of the time it is the reputation that precedes one by which you are judged (a lot of the time unfairly so) but also because Kirsten was just about everybody’s favourite for the role after he won the World Cup with India.
There is also the fact that he is coloured or “of colour”, as some would put it, the first non-white coach of the national cricket team.
He makes history and it is a big thing, there will be enormous pride felt by Domingo and his family as well as those who have been with him on his cricket path. For some people though, the colour thing is still “an issue”.
The difficulty of the job goes without saying because, despite who is in charge of a national team, the expectation of the public is always high (rightly so) and everybody will have their eye on you.
No matter where one turns, somebody is watching and ready to criticise if things have gone wrong and the team has failed. Dealing with this is a given for Domingo and will probably come as no surprise...perhaps the magnitude of it will hit somewhere along the line, but that it is so will not be out of the blue.
How Russell Domingo thinks of himself, sees himself and carries himself will be important as that will determine how much he immerses himself into the job and how effective he can be.
In life and in sport it is imperative to be prepared for your challenges, but equally important is to commit to taking the challenge head on, no matter what. If one is docile in one's approach one could get chewed up and spat out by the situation. You have got to back yourself and give it your all.
Russell Domingo is a good man and I’m sure that he has a clear plan as to how he is going to take this Proteas unit, which is pretty good, forward.
They say a coach is only as good as his players...if that rings true, he has a rather more than average chance of doing well.
All the very best Russell.