Pat Howard has given credit to Darren Lehmann (left) and Michael Clarke for the Ashes triumph © Getty Images
Cricket Australia’s (CA) chief, Pat Howard admitted that he had deliberately taken a step back from the Australian team’s operations, so that current coach Darren Lehmann could take them to Ashes glory.
While the Australian team were celebrating their 5-0 whitewash over England at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Howard distanced himself from the celebrations and stood in a corner of the Members Pavilion.
While the normally vocal Howard was right up in the face of controversies during the Mickey Arthur era, still he feels that the time was ripe for him to leave Lehmann and Michael Clarke to their own methods of functioning the team.
Howard told to Sydney Morning Herald, “When things are tough you’ve got to stand up and when things are going well players and coaches are there and it’s ticking along nicely. It was a conscious decision to allow that to happen and to get on with my job. I don’t have to worry about the day to day. Your head is in the next tournament, the next year, and I’ve enjoyed being able to get on with it. Lehmann does a very good job in running the team with Clarke and you leave them to it.”
Howard backing off from the Australian team’s front end operations came a year after he was embroiled in many high-profile happenings.
Howard and Chief Executive Officer, James Sutherland had informed former coach Mickey Arthur of his sacking and his comments on Shane Watson also put him in the limelight.
Howard was also criticised for the Australia’s much maligned rotation policy and was already in the firing line after their humiliating 4-0 and 3-0 losses in India and England respectively.
Despite Australia engineering a stunning 5-0 whitewash over England in the 2013-14 Ashes, Howard has received little or no credit for the team’s success.
Howard said, “That’s just the job and I’m really happy about that. I’ve been a player, I’ve had my turn. Your role as an administrator is not that. I appreciate I’ve copped a bit during that [time] and I accept that and that’s fine but I don’t expect any accolades. I didn’t take a wicket and I didn’t score a run. I’ve got absolutely no problem with it.”
“I’ve been looking six months, 12 months ahead right through to the World Cup, looking into the fixture list and how we can best optimise that,” he said. “And because Darren and Michael are working so well together you don’t focus on tomorrow or who’s playing in Brisbane next week. We’ve still got to keep building and not be complacent but for those 11 guys that played those five Tests they need to be extremely proud of what they achieved. I think to a certain extent they’ve lifted a nation,” concluded Howard.
Howard, who encouraged Australia to celebrate their 5-0 win now aims to concentrate on the future.