Warning: This contains positive opinions on Pat Howard

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By , Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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    Such are the countless occasions I’ve typed him in a furious rage, anything from Pizza Hut to Pork Hoarder to Pants Hustler is now corrected by my predictive text to show one name.

    Pat Howard.

    80s powerhouse pizza and the other two aside – my pork and pants are best left untouched – this attests that Howard consumes me.

    This is because the one-time physio has manipulated our culturally sacred cricket team, playing a large hand in achieving a bankruptcy of depth in personnel not seen since the Great Australian Strike of 1917.

    For those unaware, Howard’s philosophy prevents cricketers from playing cricket in the hope they can play more cricket, only it results in cricketers playing less cricket than they’ve ever played, because on the rare occasions they do play cricket, they injure themselves because their bodies aren’t ready for cricket.

    Basically, it’s like filling your legion full of vitamins and then sneezing in to the mess hall dishwasher.

    He calls it ‘workload management’ – because it sounds snazzy and the previous paragraph won’t fit on a business card – and it has been acknowledged as the backbone of Australia’s undulant decrepitude.

    From the mightiest Pharaoh to the lowest peasant, Howard’s program has attracted criticism from all parts, with medical professionals brandishing him a “muppet” (Shane Warne- 2013) and a “pants hustler” (my iPhone – four paragraphs up).

    However, it is time to give microscopic credit where microscopic credit is due. So gather the family around the laptop for a Polaroid moment.

    Pat Howard, you done good.

    Watching Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood bowl with zest at the Gabba – most especially their romp through Pakistan’s first innings – I began to feel an uneasy sensation.

    It was a strained inundation similar to when one becomes emotional on the toilet after a sensational Mexican. Something like delightful regret crossed with regretful delight.

    The realisation gripped me that our two most valuable pace commodities were in destructive rhythm because they were oddly fresh, vitalised and not undergoing an MRI – and all after nearly two months of unbroken time on the field.

    Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager of Team Performance, Pat Howard, looks on during questioning at a press conference in Brisbane.(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    It was thanks to rest. It was thanks to sports science. It was thanks to Howard.

    Starc and Hazlewood have played every international match this summer, and it’s because Howard instructed the pair to rest from the South African tour while their unidentifiable replacements had their careers executed.

    This small injury-free period for two bowlers proves the high performance manager’s unprecedented lowering of Australia’s colours in the Rainbow Republic was the right thing to do.

    Not only do we have the luxury of both being perpendicular to the earth’s surface, the pair are also in electric touch.

    Sure, many will point out the agreeable conditions of Brisbane, and an opposition who’s never won a series on Australian soil. But these naysayers are probably people with an unreasonable Howard vendetta, so they should just shut up anyway.

    I look forward to this being the turning point in Howard’s career and trust ‘high performance’ will now extend further than his bank balance.

    As a result, I pledge to continue lavishing insultingly tiny doses of facetious praise upon him every time our bowlers can play for two months without coming unglued.

    So come on, people. Set yourself free and join me in forgiveness. Credit for Howard where credit is due.

    Unless you’re still dirty about Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle etc.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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