JOHANNESBURG: Russell Domingo has been handed the huge task of taking over from World Cup winner Gary Kirsten as the new coach of South Africa's cricket team.
Domingo was promoted from his position as assistant less than 24 hours after Kirsten announced he would not be taking up an offer to renew his contract when it ends in August, sending shockwaves through South African sport.
Domingo, 38, will be given a two-year contract from Aug. 1 and while stressing the importance of continuity, acknowledged that the challenge of replacing Kirsten was like taking over from Alex Ferguson as the manager of Manchester United.
“I know now what David Moyes feels like,” said Domingo, referring to Ferguson's successor.
“It will be a tough task to emulate him (Kirsten) but I will continue with much of what he has brought to the team and look to add my own flavour to it.
“It's a massive day in my life after two wonderful years already with the national team.
“I've learned a great deal from Gary Kirsten and (bowling coach) Allan Donald and hopefully I can take the team up another level,” he told a media conference on Saturday.
“I'm looking for continuity and to enhance the structures so that we can continue to be the best in the world.”
Kirsten, who led India to a World Cup win in 2011, took over as South Africa coach later that same year and has steered the Proteas to the top of the test rankings.
He said he wanted to spend more time with his young family as his reason for quitting the post.
Domingo comes into the job without any first class playing experience but had a successful five-year spell at the provincial Warriors franchise before being appointed assistant to Kirsten in 2011.
“I've come through all the phases that I think a successful coach needs to go through and I feel I can offer something to the national team,” he added.
Domingo said he had spoken to senior players in the team, including captain Graeme Smith, about taking the job.
“The captain and coach have to be on the same wave length especially with regards to tactics,” Domingo added.
His tenure starts with a limited overs series in Sri Lanka in July and August.
Cricket South Africa President Chris Nenzani said it “had not been a difficult decision”.
“We wanted to keep continuity and continue the culture in the team,” he said.