“Bangladesh would enter a transition phase soon and in this situation, the Tigers were needed a head coach with the ability to manage the team smartly by installing a work ethic based on discipline and intelligence rather than winning the votes of the local media and fans”
After the end of the ICC World Cup in England, the hierarchy of Bangladesh Cricket parted ways with head coach Steve Rhodes.
Bangladesh finished eighth in the 10-team group phase, collecting just three wins from their nine matches.
Despite prevailing over South Africa, West Indies, and Afghanistan, five losses and a no-result left just two places off the bottom.
Rhodes was only 12 months into a contract that was due to expire after next year’s World Twenty20 in Australia but has seen the agreement curtailed after a post-tournament review.
“The board had a review following the Pakistan match [Bangladesh’s last at the World Cup] in a meeting in London,” said Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the CEO of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)
“There it was decided that the BCB and Steve Rhodes will not continue on their agreement. The separation was by mutual consent.”
To be honest, Rhodes should have been around as the coach for a longer period because, after the departure of Chandika Hathurusingha, the rustiness for the transient period was brushed off by Rhodes and under him, Bangladesh looked steady enough. Apart from the experienced campaigners, one could also notice that the youngsters were gaining the tempo – the man management of Rhodes has been such that he could bring the best out of his players and he gave them the freedom to express themselves.
Given the kind of expectations that grew after the victory over South Africa in the opening encounter, the Tigers just could not make it to the final four, but their fighting spirit did earn them the accolades and someone like Rhodes can receive the credits for that.
But somehow, BCB decided to think differently and after one month of speculations, they ended up recruiting Russell Domingo as the head coach of Bangladesh.
Born in Port Elizabeth to a Coloured family, and played for Eastern Province at the junior level without ever breaking through into the senior team.
He gained his first coaching qualification at the age of 22 and at the age of 25 was hired as a youth coach for Eastern Province.
Having worked under Hylton Ackerman at South Africa’s national academy, Domingo was appointed coach of the South African under-19s team at the 2004 Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.
The following year, he took over as the coach of the Warriors franchise, eventually leading the side to victory in the domestic one-day and Twenty20 competitions during the 2009–10 season.
Domingo also coached the Warriors at the 2010 and 2011 editions of the Champions League Twenty20, with the franchise losing to the Chennai Super Kings in the final of the former.
In May 2010, Domingo was appointed coach of South Africa A for a tour of Bangladesh. He retained the position when Bangladesh A returned the tour the following year.
In June 2011, Domingo was appointed assistant coach of the senior national team, under the newly appointed senior coach Gary Kirsten.
In December 2012, he took over from Kirsten as South Africa’s Twenty20 International coach, with his first series being against New Zealand.
At the time of his appointment, he and New Zealand coach Mike Hesson were the only national coaches not to have played professionally.
In May 2013, Gary Kirsten announced that he would resign as national coach at the end of July, with Domingo subsequently being announced as his replacement.
Domingo’s regime started well, but after the World Cup 2015, the Proteas started to experience a downfall and the job had come under fire towards the start of 2016 when South Africa slumped to Test series defeats against India and England and also had a disappointing World Twenty20 campaign.
However, the Proteas experienced a revival after few months, notching Test series wins over New Zealand (at home), Australia (away), and Sri Lanka (home) besides whitewashing the Steve Smith-led side in five-match ODI series at home.
Despite the side’s recent success, it seemed that Cricket South Africa (CSA) had made up its mind as they had announced earlier this year that they would advertise the coaching position for the national team.
CSA had also asked Domingo, whose contract was about to expire after the tour to England in 2017, that if he wants to stay on as coach then he would have to get his CV in order and apply with the rest of them.
South Africa’s tour to England was a disaster and Domingo’s tenure seemed to have been meeting a sad end – In August 2017 CSA announced the appointment of Ottis Gibson as the new head coach of the Proteas subsequently relegating Russell to coaching the A team of South Africa.
When Domingo took over the role of the head coach of the Proteas side, they were the champions of world cricket. Kirsten had won the World Cup with India and taken South Africa to No.1 on the Test rankings, but in 4 years under Domingo, South Africa have won eight out of 13 Test series, during which time they dropped from No.1 to No.7 and bounced back to No.2 in the Test rankings. In ODIs, they have won 14 out of 22 ODI series, which included a stint at No.1 and the first-ever win in a World Cup knockout match.
The numbers may look sound enough, but what the numbers fail to say at times and which is the context of the whole matter – the ruthless qualities and dominant nature started to wane. The batters were lacking in character away from home, while the new-breed of faster bowlers failed to carry the legacy of the past masters.
South African cricket had got used to one leader, suddenly they had three in Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, and Faf du Plessis, and finally, Du Plessis became the permanent customer.
Many were surprised when CSA decided to change the head coach, but what they failed to notice is the gradual fall of a kingdom, which was a force to be reckoned with in world cricket.
Domingo took over during the transition period of South Africa and during his 4-year stay; he failed to handle the situation.
There was that toxic mixture of sports and politics in South Africa and whims of big guns and the same existed previously as well. The likes of Gary Kirsten, Mickey Arthur, and late Bob Woolmer handled all those, while Domingo could not carry on the legacy.
The scenario is not different in Bangladesh as well.
Politics in the cricket board, consistent disturbance from the journalists, print, electronic and social media, and egos of big guns make the environment of Bangladesh cricket polluted enough. Meanwhile, Bangladesh would enter a transition phase soon and in this situation, the Tigers were needed a head coach with the ability to manage the team smartly by installing a work ethic based on discipline and intelligence rather than winning the votes of the local media and fans.
Given the performance of Domingo in South Africa, a sane brain would not support the choice of BCB, who appointed him as the next head coach of Bangladesh.
Domingo may not prove a point as the head coach of Bangladesh.