Wallaby Rugger Man to scrum down for Australian cricket

Peter Lalor, in The Australian 14 Oct. 2011, with title “”Cricket Australia picks a Wallaby, Pat Howard, to lead the way”

THE man appointed to lead Australian cricket out of the ash-strewn wilderness has played 20 Tests, but they did not involve stumps, red balls or lunch breaks. Pat Howard, 37, a former rugby international, was yesterday appointed to the new position of Cricket Australia’s general manager team performance. He played 20 Tests for the Wallabies during the 1990s and was recently the high-performance manager for the Australian Rugby Union, but admits his cricket playing experience is rather limited.“I was lucky enough to be sitting in the dressing room of the Leicestershire county cricket side once and they gave me the chance to put on the whites and field for the last four overs,” he said. “They were playingEssexand I can remember that when Stuart Law walked on, I was more nervous than in any rugby game I have ever been in.

“Like all my mates and like most Australians, I love cricket. It’s been said many times that there are 20 million selectors in this country and I am coming from that base, but I admit I have to get my head around the processes very quickly.”

The appointment of Howard is the first step in bedding down the administrative changes recommended by the Argus review. His first role will be to appoint a head coach to replace Tim Nielsen and a full-time chairman of selectors as well as filling the part-time positions on that panel. Although he is not due to start for a month, Howard has already had a preliminary look at the field of candidates.

“There are names everywhere,” he said. “That is not where I start. I always go back a step. When we went through the Wallabies coach selection process, we started by making sure the attributes of the candidates were right. What I will be asking James Sutherland (CA chief executive officer) and key stakeholders is: ‘What does cricket need? What complements Michael Clarke? What complements the nature of the team?’

“People want to throw names at you first, but you want to be able to run them through a checklist and see if they have done this, done that and so on. I know the names that are being thrown around but the first question I have to ask the others is: ‘What do you want from the person who will get this job?’ ”

Howard’s role focuses solely on team performance and was one of the major recommendations of the Argus review. The head coach, chairman of selectors, team manager and Centre of Excellence manager will all report to Howard, who will be based inBrisbanewhen he starts in the job in mid-November.

Howard is expected to work closely with the state cricket managers to eliminate the disconnect that occurs when players slip from one system to the other. He is also responsible for women’s cricket. He says that while there has been some cynicism about his lack of cricketing experience, he does not believe it is important.

“I haven’t played cricket but the reality is that is a positive and a negative. The positive is I come with no baggage. I can ask a lot of questions and I can bring a perspective from other sports. But at the same stage I need to be complemented by technical expertise and I will have to trust those people,” Howard said.

“Hopefully, that allows the coaches and national selectors the confidence to do their job freely. My job is to put the right people

in the right places. I have to complement their roles, which are technical.

“I never see myself in a tracksuit and I wouldn’t have been hired if that was a requirement.

“The Argus review talks about getting the right frameworks in place, succession planning, making sure the states are on board.

There are lots of factors.

“I am being driven by what the Argus report recommends. I can’t comment in any depth until I have been through the learning phase when I join the group.”

Sutherland welcomed the appointment of Howard, a qualified pharmacist who has been working in property development since he left the ARU.

“We are delighted Pat is taking this role,” Sutherland said. “He has a background of success as a player, selector and coach, including 20 Tests as an Australian player, as well as playing and coaching success with the Leicester Tigers inEnglandand was a high-performance GM with the ARU,” he said. “He brings vital qualities in what is a pivotal new role with a singular focus on Australian team performance. His priority will be ensuring that all ofAustralia’s High Performance cricket programs dovetail in a manner that helps us produce the best men’s and women’s teams in the world”.

In the past, the cricket general manager, Michael Brown, did those jobs as well as the operational side of the business. Howard said it was a great opportunity for anybody interested in sports leadership.


Ex-Leicester Tigers boss Pat Howard gets Australia job in http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/15288870.stm

Former Leicester Tigers boss Pat Howard has been named as CricketAustralia’s general manager for team performance.TheAustraliahead coach, captain and chairman of selectors will all report to the 37-year-old former rugby union international.

Howard has previously served as Australian Rugby Union’s (ARU) high-performance manager.As head coach, Howard led Leicester Tigers to the Guinness Premiership and the EDF Energy Cup in 2007.

“It is a great opportunity for anybody interested in sports leadership,” Howard said.

The job is a new position, recommended by the Argus Review instigated in the wake of the Test team’s 3-1 Ashes series defeat at home toEngland.

Howard, who played 20 times for the Wallabies, added: “The timing of the new role off the back of Argus Review makes this an exciting time in Australian cricket.”The Queenslander will start work inBrisbanein mid-November.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland said that Howard’s experience in elite sport was a key factor in his appointment. He said: “He has a background of success as a player, selector and coach, including 20 Tests as an Australian [rugby] player, as well as playing and coaching success with Leicester Tigers inEngland.”He was also a high-performance GM [general manager] with the ARU.

“He brings vital qualities in what is a pivotal new role with a singular focus on Australian team performance.His priority will be ensuring that all ofAustralia’s high-performance cricket programmes dovetail in a manner that helps us produce the best men’s and women’s teams in the world.”

One of Howard’s first tasks will be helping to choose a new head coach to replace Tim Nielsen, who quit after the recent tour of Sri Lanka.Australia are currently touringSouth Africa, with Troy Cooley acting as interim coach.

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