Pat Howard leading Cricket Australia from crisis to crisis

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    Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

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    In many ways this has been Australian cricket’s summer of discontent, and the fans have found plenty to vent their spleens over – selections, rotations, the coach, the standing down of players.

    And yet, perhaps the greatest no-confidence vote has been levelled against a man who neither selects the team nor travels with it.

    His name is Pat Howard, the former Wallabies flyhalf, one-time coach of Leicester Tigers and general manager of the ARU’s high-performance unit.

    Since October 2011 he has been in the position of general manager, team performance for the Australian cricket team, during which time he has needed to regularly don a flak-jacket in order to protect himself from the seemingly constant of barrage of criticism and questioning from the fans.

    Yesterday, as has often been the case in recent months, he found himself before the cameras as the official Cricket Australia spokesman in times of a crisis of confidence in the organisation.

    He was called off the bench this time to try and put as good as spin as possible on the now infamous ‘homeworkgate’ affair that resulted in the standing down from Test selection of Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja.

    The quartet failed to comply with a request from coach Mickey Arthur to provide answers as to why Australia finds itself in such a parlous position in the current India series.

    Howard’s performance in front of the media was far from stellar.

    At one point he stated that the suspensions meted out to the ‘gang of four’ was not wholly and solely as a result of the failure to complete the assignment set by the coach but more as a culmination of events with the homework saga being the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    He then appeared to start to explain the other misdemeanours that resulted in some of the strongest action taken in recent times by Australian team management before abruptly then pulling himself up and uttering that he had no desire to air them publicly.

    In essence, it was a highly confusing summation of the whole saga, which did little to defuse the situation or pacify the fan-base.

    But the biggest talking point out of his media appearance was the verbal hand grenade that he lobbed at Watson.

    In response to a question about Watson’s perceived threat to walk away from Test cricket as a result of his acrimonious suspension, Howard declared that, “I know Shane reasonably well. I think he acts in the best interests of the team – sometimes.”

    Ah, excuse me?

    Is the same Shane Watson that CA anointed as vice-captain?

    The man who, but for an injury to Michael Clarke, would skipper the national Test team?

    It was a mind-blowing statement from a man who is the administrative link between the team and the administration of Cricket Australia.

    One wonders whether Howard would choose the same words if he had his time over.

    Unsurprisingly, Watson, upon returning to Australia, had a response to Howard’s comments.

    The deputy skipper refuted the claims levelled against him and, in doing so, said that Pat Howard really didn’t know him. The confusion continued to abound.

    Howard also alluded to a rift that exists between Clarke and Watson – hardly a healthy thing for the two leaders of our Test team.

    Again, Watson went on record saying that at present there were no issues between the pair despite Howard stating that they needed to ‘sort their issues out and if Michael wants to raise that as a greater issue, then he can come forward’.

    Watson has left himself wide open as a result of the comments he made upon leaving India and returning to be beside his wife who is shortly due to deliver their first child.

    Just as Howard may like to rewind the clock, Watson may now be thinking likewise.

    Clearly ticked off by his public execution by way of his one-Test suspension he made some comments prior to boarding the plane that would have resulted in some collective head shaking from the captain, coach, teammates, selectors and hierarchy of CA – not to mention the fans.

    “There are a lot more important things in my life. I do love playing cricket and that passion is still there and I feel I am in the prime years of my cricket career,” he said.

    “But, in the end, I have got to live with this. That is the decision they have made and at this point in time I am at a stage where I have to weigh up my future with what I want to do with my cricket in general to be honest.”

    When approached by the media for his thoughts, Watson’s father said that his son, “doesn’t have to play for Australia to keep playing cricket and earning some pretty good money at the same time.”

    All in all, Shane Watson over the past 48 hours has not come across as a man who desperately wants to remain in the Australian Test system.

    The view in which he is now held by many of the punters has dramatically changed in a few days.

    In the blink of an eye he has gone from being a player who perhaps should not be in the team to a man who has been greatly wronged and as such demanding of their support.

    At present, Watson’s short term future appears bleak.

    He will not, one would imagine, be available for selection for the final Test of the current series, as his three suspended cohorts will be, given the impending birth of his child.

    The next assignment after that is the little matter of the Ashes – twice in fact given the twin home and away series.

    It is a poorly held secret in cricket circles that Clarke and Watson do not see eye to eye and indeed their relationship has often been fractious.

    Watson’s days as vice-captain are over. His form with the bat is nothing to write home about – two centuries in 40 Tests and an average of 36.

    It is more of a problem given his self-imposed bowling ban.

    The current crisis in Australian cricket has thrown up many more questions than answers. We do not know how Watson’s teammates have reacted to his comments about his future and the relevance cricket plays in his life.

    Just how willing will they be to have him back, especially heading into two marquee series?

    Further questions have been raised about the interpersonal skills of Clarke with the public airing of the Watson relationship coming on the heels of similar cases with Simon Katich, Andrew Symonds, Damien Martyn, and most lately, the rumours that surrounded Michael Hussey’s retirement.

    And then of course, there is the case of Pat Howard.

    On the field, the Australian team is under siege. Off it, it appears to be in little better shape.

    And all of this on the eve of ten Ashes Tests.

    Oh, to be an Englishman at present.

    Glenn Mitchell
    Glenn Mitchell

    After 21 years as a sports broadcaster with the ABC, since mid-2011 Glenn Mitchell has been freelancing in the electronic and written media. He is an ambassador for mental health in Australia, and tweets from @mitchellglenn.

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    The Crowd Says (176)

    • March 13th 2013 @ 10:32am
      Lroy said | March 13th 2013 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      Just read, that the players on tour have to fill out a “wellness report” every day, and hand it to the team trainer each day.. this inlcludes the amount of sleep they are getting….. Some of them have been counselled on their skin fold levels… a couple came late to team meetings… and someone wore the wrong uniform to a function…

      Wellness report? Is that a joke??? Skin folds ?? are we trying to produce the best pound for pound cricketers? Late to a team meeting, thats $20 in the jar… wearing the wrong uniform, well thats the managers job to make sure everyone is dressed properly before they leave the hotel…

      The more I read about this episode.. the more bizarre it is all sounding… sounds more like the North Korean soccer team than Aussie cricket team…

      • March 13th 2013 @ 10:42am
        Red Kev said | March 13th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        Do they think Allan Border would have passed their skin fold tests? Or Mark Taylor? Or Darren Lehmann?
        They have clearly gone way too far with many of their sports science management initiatives.

        • Columnist

          March 13th 2013 @ 11:21am
          Ryan O'Connell said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          Runs used to be a batsman’s currency, and wickets for bowlers.

          • March 13th 2013 @ 11:33am
            jameswm said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:33am | ! Report

            Nah the skinfold issue is a comparison to what it was like before. They don’t want people slacking off. Unfortunately they don’t all have the personal motivation to train hard as Siddle.

            • March 13th 2013 @ 12:34pm
              Mango Jack said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              Then they probably shouldn’t be in the team.

            • Roar Guru

              March 13th 2013 @ 12:55pm
              JGK said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

              Don’t scales do the same thing?

              • March 13th 2013 @ 1:44pm
                jameswm said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

                No. Some muscle can be good, but makes you heavier.

              • Roar Guru

                March 13th 2013 @ 3:44pm
                JGK said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

                But muscle mass doesn’t change THAT quickly while on tour.

          • Columnist

            March 13th 2013 @ 3:14pm
            Glenn Mitchell said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            Too true Ryan, otherwise the lion-hearted Merv Hughes would have fallen well short of his 212 Test wickets … by 212 in fact.

            • March 13th 2013 @ 3:48pm
              Nick Inatey said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

              Lets not forget the physical prowess of Arjuna Ranatunga either.

            • March 13th 2013 @ 11:40pm
              Richard said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:40pm | ! Report

              And we how much would we kill for a Boon like opener right now. Without his cigarettes and beer he probably wouldn’t have been half as good.

        • Roar Guru

          March 13th 2013 @ 2:25pm
          AdamS said | March 13th 2013 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

          Skin fold tests are of paramount importance.
          You can’t have fatties on a KFC or Milo advert.

          • March 13th 2013 @ 2:56pm
            WQ said | March 13th 2013 @ 2:56pm | ! Report


        • March 13th 2013 @ 3:03pm
          WQ said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

          Allan Border would have told them to p**s off and come back to me when you have the skills to turn Australian Cricket around on the field.
          Cricket is a simple game that is being made more and more complicated by coaches, performance experts, sports pysches and managers trying to justify the existence!
          Bloody hell, just pick the best 6 Batsmen, the 4 best Bowlers, the best Keeper and just get on with the job. If they don’t perform get rid of them and give somebody else a go.

        • March 13th 2013 @ 3:51pm
          Praveen said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

          It’s about winning not skin gold tests, I am losing patience with these guys, get your best 11 in and Pattinson and khawaja would have been in the best 11 in mohair, I can’t wait fr the may h to start so we can move on from this drama whic frankly is a bit of a joke

          • March 13th 2013 @ 4:58pm
            Timmuh said | March 13th 2013 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

            Skin golds. I don’t really think anyone in Australian cricket has the Midas tough right now.
            (I like picking on other people’s typos, simply because I make so many myself.)

            Seriously, skin fold test and the like are standard in professional sport. But such tests, “wellness reports” (especially in a fitness system which is failing so horribly), and failing to deliver a few words about improvement that can be made should not be grounds for suspension from a Test match. There are other punishments which hurt the player and not the team.
            The assignment set was fair enough, the repurcussions of not delivering are not – and not following up with players whe the deadline approached smacks of seeking to punish rather than a genuine attempt to get players to think of their, and the team’s, game.
            In essence; from way outside the tent as an observer; a shocking approach seems to have been taken taken by team management and it was equally poor from the four players.

            As for Watson, his place in the best eleven is extremely dodgy at best. He will almost certainly lose the vice-captaincy, and that is fair enough as in that role he is a leader and should be setting the standard. He has also been in the media publically gunning for a teammate’s position. His punishment should be harsher because of his position of influence, and his other misdemeanours. Even so, it should not be a suspension.

      • March 13th 2013 @ 1:02pm
        Pope Paul VII said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        Bet we are killing India in the skinfold tests.

        • March 13th 2013 @ 1:38pm
          Mango Jack said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          Yeah, and I bet none of them did their homework on time.

        • March 13th 2013 @ 9:03pm
          Lroy said | March 13th 2013 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

          ha ha ha.. that is great… 😉

        • March 14th 2013 @ 5:30pm
          matt h said | March 14th 2013 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

          Well actually Shewag has been dropped for producing a sub-standard power point presentation on why he failed his skinfold test

      • March 14th 2013 @ 11:28am
        BetterRedThanDead said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        Yeah, the life of the sportsman today is tough, isnt it? We should go back to the day of durries in the changerooms, cartons downed on international flights and fat openers. Them were the days and hell, they could get us back to the top again, cause, like most things, sport never really changes, does it?

        Get a grip Lroy. This is professional sport, and if you look under the hood of the NRL, ARU, AFL or any top flite sport you will understand that the only one where being fat is a benefit is darts.

        Note the word ‘professional’ also. i.e. the team members don’t have free-dress days, or surface from the hotel when they feel like it, or ignore coaching / captaincy direction.

        Pretty simple stuff.

    • March 13th 2013 @ 10:41am
      Hansie said | March 13th 2013 @ 10:41am | ! Report

      The management have drawn a ‘line in the sand’ in relation to player standards. OK, fair enough. But where is the line in the sand for the selectors and CA hierarchy? Both are plainly falling well short of high performance, yet are not called to public account like Watson, Khawaja, Pattinson and Johnson.

      • March 13th 2013 @ 11:05am
        Disco said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        Indeed. Only numpties would make the Test selections of Maxi, Doherty, Smith, Quiney, Hastings etc.

      • March 13th 2013 @ 12:53pm
        Stephen said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        Well, I dunno. Rulz iz rulz. But a bit tough on Johnson and Khawaja though. They haven’t even been playing. How can they improve their performance? Mickey Arthur will have alot to answer for if we lost the next match

        • March 13th 2013 @ 1:58pm
          John Edgar said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          The fact that both these guys haven’t played a game and yet been made the culprits for us getting smashed does make me angry but i read further comments from Arthur and Howard indicating that the wider team is to blame for the issues and not just these 4, that makes me feel better.

          • March 13th 2013 @ 2:09pm
            Praveen said | March 13th 2013 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            Relax khawaja will be back for the 4th test, he is too good not too

            • March 13th 2013 @ 5:14pm
              Disco said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

              I doubt it.

              • March 13th 2013 @ 6:07pm
                Praveen said | March 13th 2013 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

                Disco the issues are between Clarke and Watson, khawaja and Patts got caught between it and will both be back for the 4 th test omotherwise the argus report is not being followed

            • March 14th 2013 @ 10:56am
              Ads said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:56am | ! Report

              Praveen, you have been confident since the tour started that Khawaja was going to be picked for the next game. He is now guaranteed to play no more than a single test on tour. I wouldn’t hold my breath that he will be brought in for the 4th test. Hughes and Smith will only have to make anything more than a pair to get another game. That’s what it took for Marsh to get dropped. There are clearly different standards for different people in this side.

              I’m sure people can debate whether that is true or not, but I think most would agree that there is certainly a perception that some players are brought in/kept in for performances that are below par whereas others get dropped after a single failure. Cowan now averages 32 after 15 tests (continuous tests), in comparison Khawaja 29 after 6 (hodge podge of one-off tests). Even Shaun Marsh (who had a disastrous run) averaged 27 after 7 tests. Not going to win many games because of a 3 run average difference.

              The scarey thing is that by most criteria Cowan has been playing to his maximum ability and is in “form” during that entire time.

              Having said that I wouldn’t drop Cowan on an away tour. He should be taken out during a home series and a new bastmen brought in to play in familiar conditions. Players like Burns, Khawaja, Voges, Bailey, Henriques may not succeed but the potential upside has to be more than an average of 32 and the downside is only likely to be an average of 27-29. Watson should not be in the first XI for the away Ashes (that means 2 of Khawaja, Burns, Voges, Bailey, Henriques get brought in to the top 6).
              For the home series, unless Cowan has improved his average to at least the high 30’s, low 40s and any of the unsuccessful new batsmen gets dropped and the next 2 cabs of the rank get the next 5 tests. That gives all the potential candidates a decent go and the selectors will get a good idea of who to persist with beyond that. (it may be that none are worth it! that’s fine at least you know that, get rid of all of the batsmen currently on the edge of selection and move on to the next batch of batsmen)

      • Roar Guru

        March 13th 2013 @ 12:57pm
        JGK said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

        Every time I hear that “line in the sand” comment I can’t help but think that Howard, Arthur and Invers might be better off in beach cricket.

    • March 13th 2013 @ 10:47am
      Worlds Biggest said | March 13th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

      Glenn, Pat Howard in his 18 months in the role must take some of the blame for the current plight however why isn’t James Sutherland being held accountable given his 10 year tenure ?? He has presided over Australian Cricket going from the Penthouse to the outhouse. It was inevitable Australian Cricket would go into some form of decline / rebuilding phase after the golden generation retired. However the current predicament is unacceptable. The buck stops with Sutherland. David Gallop and John O’Neill were forever scrutinised /criticised during there time in charge yet Sutherland seems to escape such scrutiny.

      • March 13th 2013 @ 11:05am
        Disco said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        Because $utherland balances the books.

    • Columnist

      March 13th 2013 @ 11:01am
      Ryan O'Connell said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

      Why is Howard even talking to the media? He’s the High Performance Manager – not the media liaison officer, not the coach, not the captain, not even the CEO. He shouldn’t be talking about the players or their relationship with the skipper. Period.

      • March 13th 2013 @ 11:06am
        Disco said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        Howard’s interview is the one public function he’s had to perform since Australia went to India and he even made a hash of that.

      • Columnist

        March 13th 2013 @ 11:15am
        Glenn Mitchell said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        Wholeheartedly agree with you Ryan. Where is the CEO? Very similar to Andrew Demetriou choosing to put up his numb two Gillon McLachlan to front the media and explain the Melbourne Football Club sanctions for ‘not deliberately tanking’. Pat Howard I would have thought would be best kept away from the microphones.

        • Roar Guru

          March 13th 2013 @ 3:47pm
          Wal said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          Demetriou never has any issues to jump in front of the media when its good news!!

      • March 13th 2013 @ 11:40am
        Matt F said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

        He was standing in for James Sutherland who was in Dubai for an ICC meeting. I’m not sure why Howard was the man picked to fill in but it explains why Sutherland wasn’t there. I doubt that he’ll be asked to fill in again any time soon though. It was an awful performance

        • Columnist

          March 13th 2013 @ 12:19pm
          Glenn Mitchell said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          Corporate affairs manager Peter Young, who comes from a media background, may have been a better option given Sutherland’s absence.

          • March 13th 2013 @ 12:29pm
            Matt F said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

            He certainly couldn’t have been a worse option 🙂

            • March 13th 2013 @ 1:07pm
              B.A Sports said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

              Peter Young has had a couple of faux pas himself has he not?

              • March 13th 2013 @ 1:33pm
                Matt F said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                He has, which emphasises just how poorly Pat Howard performed yesterday

              • Roar Guru

                March 13th 2013 @ 2:36pm
                JGK said | March 13th 2013 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

                Cricket Australia can’t even get their website right (they recently proudly announced that the Ashes was between Australia and New Zealand and kept it up for days).

                It’s not surprising that they can’t get nuanced communication right either.

          • March 13th 2013 @ 1:09pm
            Disco said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            Mostly because viewers are so distracted by his bow ties that they ignore the corporate speak coming out of his mouth.

          • Columnist

            March 13th 2013 @ 8:19pm
            Brett McKay said | March 13th 2013 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

            Peter Young was there, too, I was reading his live tweets…

      • March 13th 2013 @ 12:12pm
        DP said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        My understanding of the Argus Report was that Howard’s position was designed to be the “single point of accountability within CA for the Australian Team’s performance” (direct quote from the Argus Report summary). The Coach, Captain and Chairman of Selectors all report to Howard’s position. Therefore its entirely appropriate that he should be talking now. In fact, he should be talking a lot more. If not, what is his role ?

        • March 13th 2013 @ 12:42pm
          A1 said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

          He shouldnt be talking because he should be fired

        • Roar Guru

          March 13th 2013 @ 1:00pm
          JGK said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

          In that case, the next words that should come out of Howard’s mouth is “I resign”.

          He is so utterly out of his depth and the fact that the selectors and coach report to him (given his non-cricket background and his relatively young age) is astonishing.

        • Columnist

          March 13th 2013 @ 1:14pm
          Ryan O'Connell said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          How is it appropriate that Howard is talking to the media? Just because he’s the “single point of accountability” doesn’t mean he’s accountable to the media – it means he’s accountable for the performance of the captain, coach and Chairman of selectors. And in that case, he should be scanning the employment pages.

          • Roar Guru

            March 13th 2013 @ 3:33pm
            sheek said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

            On that very point Ryan,

            How was it appropriate for Arthur to publicise the punitive punishment of four players in public? Then with Clarke also airing team issues in public.

            Whatever happened to a team sorting out its man management issues behind closed doors?

            It seems to me Arthur is coaching through the media, pitching for his continued role to the high performance manager, chief executive officer & CA board.

            “Look at me, I’m being tough. I’m drawing a line in the sand & suspending players. How good am I.”

            An example of the corporatisation of sport.

            I would have thought it better to put a rocket up the players in private, impose fines, lift standards & morale, all behind closed doors, & see them come up next test & take it to the Indians.

            A previously divided team is now well & truly diced up……….

            • Columnist

              March 13th 2013 @ 3:42pm
              Ryan O'Connell said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

              Sheek, I wouldn’t have suspended the players. As I said yesterday, there were other options up Arthur’s sleeve when it comes to letting the players know that their behaviour was unacceptable. Fines, extra fitness sessions, making them front their teammates, etc, etc.

              But, in fairness to Arthur (who wasn’t alone in making this decisions, let’s be clear) once it was decided that the players were suspend, I don’t have a big issue with letting the media know. I think it’s more than appropriate that the punishment was aired. In fact, he would have had to – I’m sure it would have been noticed that Pattinson, Khawaja and Watson were suddenly not playing.

              • Roar Guru

                March 13th 2013 @ 3:50pm
                sheek said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

                True Ryan,

                1+ 2 = 3.

                Once the decision was made to suspend players, they had to go public. How else do you explain the non-selection of Watson & Pattinson & possibly Khawaja & Johnston from the 3rd test?

                The decision to suspend these guys was a massive error of judgement.

                I would be most surprised if Arthur is still the Australian coach in 12 months time.

                Clark may be an innovative & adventurous captain on the field, but he clearly has huge man management problems off the field.

                Both men are now scarred in different ways.

              • March 13th 2013 @ 5:04pm
                Timmuh said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

                Ryan, they couldn’t do extra fitness sessions or net sessions or anything of the sort. It would have thrown out the whole schedule laid down for each player.
                You know, the highly researched, finely balanced fitness regimes that rely on these “well being reports” and see the best bowlers taken out of Test matches, only to see the injury rate climb anyway. That can’t be put in jeoprady for the sake of discipline. Its far better that players be excluded from possible selection and the fortunes of the whole team, including the players doing the right thing, suffer as a consequence.

                *NB: I know sarcasm doesn’t always come across well in the written form, and I am not master of the simple art, but I hope the above had enough in there for people to recognise it for what it was. Deliberately, and entirely, stupid – much like the farce CA is now embroiled in.

              • Columnist

                March 13th 2013 @ 5:07pm
                Ryan O'Connell said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                Haha! Cheers Timmuh, but I did pick up the sarcasm pretty early!

            • Roar Guru

              March 13th 2013 @ 3:51pm
              Wal said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

              Because sporting history is filled with successful teams that dump on each other in public. 😛

              • Roar Guru

                March 13th 2013 @ 3:59pm
                JGK said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                Like Fleetwood Mac.

              • Columnist

                March 13th 2013 @ 5:06pm
                Glenn Mitchell said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                Well Wal, it wasn’t taking ago that ENG was having a huge issue with Kevin Pietersen with both he and other members of the side publicly airing their personal grievances with each other. It has been resolved and ENG is going to start the coming Ashes series as red hot favourites and that comes after a series win in India a short time ago.

                So, there have been examples of teams being us successful despite internal factional fighting.

            • March 13th 2013 @ 3:54pm
              Praveen said | March 13th 2013 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

              Sheek agree 100%, these issues should be sorted behind back doors and not made into a PR stunt to allow excuses to be made why we are 2-0 behind

            • Columnist

              March 13th 2013 @ 5:02pm
              Glenn Mitchell said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

              Sheek, suspending players on behavioural grounds is commonplace in sport, especially the various football codes. And often it is the head coach, ie a Mick Malthouse or Kevin Sheedy who delivers the news to not only the player bu the public through the media.

              That is not to say that the level of penalty in this situation was warranted but the mechanics of it were not unusual in 21st century professional sport.

              • Roar Guru

                March 13th 2013 @ 5:23pm
                sheek said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                Thanks Glenn,

                I most certainly understand all of that.

                I did say elsewhere this was a classic “cut off your nose to spite your face” situation.

                Major misdemeanors, like Punter’s drunken facade, which was impossible to hide after photos of him unconscious on the footpath were published, involve suspensions, & indeed need to be made public for that reason.

                This was a team morale issue that didn’t need to see the light of day, or require suspension.

                Arthur & Clarke have demonstrated very poor judgement & leadership in this matter.

              • Columnist

                March 13th 2013 @ 5:41pm
                Ryan O'Connell said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

                Unless the public ridicule was intended to be the main part of the punishment, Sheek.

              • March 13th 2013 @ 5:48pm
                yewonk said | March 13th 2013 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

                i agree also sheek you get the feeling like clarke was waiting to pin watson on something. as opposed to a moving forward approach.

    • Columnist

      March 13th 2013 @ 11:06am
      Geoff Parkes said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:06am | ! Report

      Glenn, I’m glad you put the spotlight on Howard but didn’t rubbish him just because of his rugby background.

      Of all the viewpoints relating to this saga, the one I have the least time for is “Howard’s no good because he’s from rugby” or “Arthur is no good because he’s South African” or “Robbie Deans is no good for Australian rugby because he’s a kiwi “and so on…

      Patrick Smith rightly ripped into Darren Jolly in yesterday’s Australian for having a go at Gillon McLachlan because he’s never played AFL at the highest level, Caroline Wilson regularly gets the same rubbish.

      I’m all for criticising people for what they do and don’t do, but petty parochialism just reflects poorly on the accuser. It’s a global world, smart people have skills that are transferrable across countries, across sports, and don’t forget it’s a two way street. The same people who are up in arms when they discover Olympic uniforms are made overseas are at the same time proud when an Aussie company wins a contract to supply seating for an Olympic stadium. It’s hypocritical rubbish.

      Is it ok for Australian coaches to coach overseas? Is Andy Flower doing ok with England? Is Duncan Fletcher doing ok with India?

      If Mickey Arthur is a crock it’s because he’s a crock, not because of where he was born.
      If Pat Howard is a crock it’s because he’s a crock, not because he played rugby for Australia instead of cricket.

      I don’t think either of them are crocks by the way. Although they certainly have a few problems on their plate at the minute….

      • March 13th 2013 @ 11:54am
        madampotatofeet said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        Spot on!

      • March 13th 2013 @ 12:44pm
        Hansie said | March 13th 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        My main memory of Pat Howard as a rugby player was that he often took the wrong option – I’m particularly thinking of his penchant for the crash ball when he had unmarked players outside him. I was reminded of that by his performance at the media conference yesterday where he volunteered to provide details of past indiscretions, then immediately backtracked and said he wouldn’t go there. It was a weak effort. I think he’s a crock. I certainly wouldn’t describe his efforts so far as high performance.

        • Columnist

          March 13th 2013 @ 1:36pm
          Geoff Parkes said | March 13th 2013 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

          Hansie, I agree, I remember him as a fair but limited provincial level player, not up to true international class.
          Yesterday’s presser was less than international class too.
          But that doesn’t mean that the latter is due to the former. They’re unrelated.

          There’s also an element of witch hunt going on here too. Somebody has to be to blame for all of this. At first it was Mickey Arthur, then the tide shifted to Watson, and now Howard.
          But this mess is just the symptom of a deeper, systemic problem – a lot of it already identified in the Argus report, but little of it seemingly fixed.
          There are little pockets of blame everywhere that can be sheeted home to the players, captain, coach and administrators. None of the individuals are in themselves grossly deficient or mean any ill, but collectively this needs strong leadership to resolve and to lay out a better pathway forward. It is time the CEO stepped forward, helped calm everything down and satisfy everyone (if he can) that this isn’t an organisation in free fall.

      • March 13th 2013 @ 9:43pm
        Ian said | March 13th 2013 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

        Well said. Totally agree.

    • March 13th 2013 @ 11:29am
      Rugby Reg said | March 13th 2013 @ 11:29am | ! Report

      I think the issue with Watto is they were probably hoping that giving him the VC would inspire him to be a team player all of the time.
      It has backfired and now he has predictibly ‘spat the dummy’
      it is not like there are any other outstanding candidates , Siddle maybe?
      I am sure this is the end for watto as a test player

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