Pat Howard is failing those he is supposed to protect
When Australian fast bowler James Pattinson broke down during the second Test against South Africa in Adelaide, he joined pace colleague Patrick Cummins on the sideline for the rest of the season.
Which begs the question is Pat Howard, the former Wallaby who loves his cricket but admitted on appointment a year ago that he knows very little about the sport, doing his job?
Yet he is the GM of team performance, which translates to keeping the best cricketers in the country injury free.
Howard held the same position with the Australian Rugby Union where he did know his sport. But that didn’t help with a string of injuries to the Wallabies.
The 38-year-old Howard is a pharmacist, whatever that has to do with the appointment.
To explain how senior he is in the pecking order of Cricket Australia the head coach, the chairman of selectors, the team manager, and the manager of the Centre of Excellence all report to Howard.
All four would have forgotten more about cricket than Howard will probably ever know. Yet, on top of all that, Howard is responsibile for the welfare of cricketers.
Cummins and Pattinson are two glaring examples of Howard failing them, if the brief given to Howard is accurate.
It’s all part of the flawed Argus Review that included recommending employing five national selectors, of which John Inverarity is the only full-timer, two part-timers in Rod Marsh and Andy Bichel, the captain Michael Clarke, and coach Micky Arthur.
A ridiculous set-up. It should be Inverarity, Marsh, and Bichel all full-time, and no Clarke or Arthur.
Selectors select, players play, and coaches coach and they should never meet under the same roof with a common purpose.
Cricket Australia has undergone a huge shake-up as well, falling into the current trap of concentrating on directors with commercial expertise and ignoring those who know their cricket.
Wally Edwards is the chairman of the new board, who last played Test cricket 40 years ago, but he is in touch with the modern game.
Of the six directors, one from each state, and three independent directors, only Michael Kasprowitz representing Queensland is a recent Test cricketer.
One out of nine, and former Test captain Mark Taylor was snubbed as an independent director.
The new Australian Rugby League Commission has fallen into the same trap, full of commercial gurus, and just one reasonably recent Kangaroo in Wayne Pearce.
Again one out of nine.
The ARLC has gone even further by appointing high-flying banking Welshman Dave Smith, a social rugby player of the past who thinks State of Origin is exciting, as the new Chief Exec.
Which begs another question: is sport, where there’s millions of television and sponsorship dollars in the kitty, concentrating on making those dollars work at the expense of having board members who really know their sport and are very capable of promoting it?
Pat Howard isn’t working, and it remains to be seen if those who know so little of the sport that they are supposed to be directing will stuff up the same way.
The Ashes journey begins
The Australian cricket team have left Australia to begin their tour of England, with a mission to reclaim the Ashes.
Australian captain Michael Clarke and his teammates were optimistic about their chances before jetting off.
Click here to hear the thoughts of our Australian cricket team as they left for England.
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