Warning: This contains positive opinions on Pat Howard

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, 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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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • December 18th 2016 @ 8:21am
      Justin from Canberra said | December 18th 2016 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      “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.”
      These two lines, along with my morning’s ablutions, are the highlights so far, of my day. Pat Howard, a clear example of corporate management and speak being totally ‘potty.’

    • December 18th 2016 @ 9:43am
      John Erichsen said | December 18th 2016 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      You clearly have forgotten how underdone Mitch Starc was in the summer’s first test, largely due to Howard’s “Thou shall not bowl” law written in stone and delivered to Starc before the second innings of his only Shield game upon returning from his slice and dice leg injury. Many of us would suggest it is the workload of the summer, not being rested, which has our pace bowlers on song now. Perhaps our appreciation should be directed to the South African batsmen, in particular Elgar, Duminy and Faf for scoring runs and making our quicks do extra work. However, I too am keen to usher in this new age of respecting the wonder that is High Performance so Pat Howard, I salute you, albeit one finger at a time.

    • December 18th 2016 @ 11:29am
      Simon said | December 18th 2016 @ 11:29am | ! Report

      I think they’re copping a really unfair rap in regards to the Mitchell Starc thing. He literally had an open wound on his leg, was a good idea to let him bowl for an innings in the shield to get some rhythm but any time he spent resting was valuable

    • December 18th 2016 @ 11:58am
      Fugi said | December 18th 2016 @ 11:58am | ! Report

      Pat Howard was never a physio he was and is a pharmacist and a very successful one at that

      He is also very big on making sure the team is not way above themselves and that they are always out signing autographs

      Great to be able to give credit where credit is due and all the facts are indifutable that these players are going to break down

    • December 18th 2016 @ 12:32pm
      Rugbydan1 said | December 18th 2016 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      Not being a big cricket fan it’s very interesting to me that Pat Howard is disliked. For me he was a quite good rugby player and very good guy. In the late 2000’s he turned out for UQ lower grades rugby and helped coach us. Playing with him was great and his coaching was invaluable. Very clever person. Frankly cricket is lucky to have him, if I could I would get him back in rugby ASAP

      • December 18th 2016 @ 12:51pm
        Jeff Milton said | December 18th 2016 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        You should have stopped at “not being a cricket fan”

        • December 18th 2016 @ 1:23pm
          Rugbydan1 said | December 18th 2016 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

          You should have stopped. Isn’t this fun?

      • Roar Guru

        December 18th 2016 @ 2:24pm
        Cadfael said | December 18th 2016 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

        I thought Howard was an average to goodish rugby fly half. He is also a successful business man and well done to him for that. But his handling of our pace bowlers over the years has been poor. We have had fast bowlers being told they can only bowl in one innings of a Shield game, others have been told to only bowl a maximum of x number of overs in a Shield game (normally less than double figures). In Pattinson’s case, he can’t even play a Shield game let alone be considered for a test spot. Why? Because the high performance manager considers less time in the middle is better to get a quick fit.

        • December 20th 2016 @ 8:46am
          Bakkies said | December 20th 2016 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          Howard was a very good inside centre for the Brumbies and Leicester

    • December 18th 2016 @ 2:46pm
      Internal Fixation said | December 18th 2016 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

      Nice article Dane.

      Sad it has become a joke to be lampooned by fine comedic writers such as Ben P ……

      Further jokes aside CA have ignored medical advise from one of the best….


      I signed a letter Professor Fraser wrote on behalf of our whole Spinal Unit – apparently CA didn’t even bother to reply!

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