Cricket Australia's team performance executive, Pat Howard, will remain in his position until 2019 after being handed a two-year contract extension. Howard's contract as executive general manager, team performance, was due to expire at the end of June, but he has agreed to stay on further.
Howard was originally appointed to the newly-created role in 2011, following the Argus review, and has been a pivotal figure in the direction of Australian cricket during the past six years. Although Howard has been retained, CA has lost several key figures in the past year, including former commercial boss Mike McKenna, and most recently head of operations, Sean Cary.
"Pat is a dynamic, passionate executive and the board and I are delighted that he has agreed to extend his term," James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia CEO, said. "He has led the evolution of a new team performance structure and success-driven culture for both men's and women's cricket in Australia and we see his ongoing contribution as integral to our future plans.
"Among many other things, Pat has driven the improvement of structures and systems that support the Australian Cricket Pathway for all young players, with a firm eye on identifying and nurturing talent at an early stage and enabling them with the best opportunities to perform at the highest possible level."
A former professional rugby player, Howard has been at the helm of Australia's performance through significant ups and downs, with highs including the 2013-14 Ashes clean sweep, the 2015 World Cup triumph at home, and a return to No.1 in the Test rankings last year. Continued struggles in the subcontinent have remained an issue, although Australia's recent competitive performance in India was encouraging.
"In sport there is always highs and lows but if I was to reflect, I am particularly pleased with how much our pathways and talent identification systems have grown, with more than 300 contracted male and female players, as well as the coaching pathway for coaches in Australian cricket," Howard said. "The cricket landscape is changing rapidly and the need to continue to adapt will be important, this means there is still a lot to achieve.
"What the previous 12 months has shown is that we have a lot of talent and depth in the system to be ready for these changes. The goal hasn't changed, we want to be number one in all three formats across men's and women's cricket."