Kirsten, Simons on five-man panel in hunt for new SA coach
Cricket South Africa has nominated a five-man panel including two former national coaches, Gary Kirsten and Eric Simons, to recommend a suitable candidate for the position of head coach, which it aims to fill by the beginning of September. Current coach Russell Domingo's contract expires at the end of the England tour in August and while free to reapply for the post, he has not indicated whether he will put his name in the hat.
If Domingo does apply, he, along with other candidates will be screened by a panel which consists of CSA's lead independent director Norman Arendse, board member Rihan Richards, transformation and cricket pipeline committee member Oupa Nkagisang and the two former coaches. It is not clear whether the panel will search for suitable candidates or whether applications have been opened, but either way, the panel will have about three months to decide on their recommendation. It will then be up to CSA's board to ratify that choice.
Domingo has been in charge of South Africa since after the Champions Trophy in mid-2013 and has had his contract renewed three times but cannot be rolled over again in order to meet corporate governance requirements. Domingo enjoys widespread player support and is the only coach to oversee a South African victory in a World-Cup knockout match - the 2015 quarter-final. He has also been in charge through a severe dip in form - when South Africa crashed from No. 1 to No. 7 on the Test rankings - and a subsequent revival that has seen them climb to No. 2. They cannot move any higher in their next series against England - even with a 4-0 victory - but that is unlikely to have as much effect on whether Domingo stays on as head coach or not as the Champions Trophy. With the new coach's tenure set to include the 2019 World Cup, CSA is likely to lean towards someone who it thinks will bring the team success there.
CSA has already put faith in the current crop of selectors, whose tenure began after the 2015 World Cup. Convener Linda Zondi, along with Hussein Manack, Errol Stewart and Lux Qoboshiyana (who replaced Ashwell Prince after he became Cobras' coach last September) have had their term of office extended until after the 2019 World Cup. The selection panel has presided over the rise of several stars for South Africa, including Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj, and has done so while adhering to strict transformation targets.
The only other notable change to the structure is the appointment of Robin Peterson as the eminent past-player representative on the cricket committee. Peterson replaces Prince in that role.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent