Rugby coach charged with rebuilding Aussie cricket

Cricket Australia have named former rugby union international Patrick Howard as general manager of team performance in a newly-created role, recommended by a review panel after the country's Ashes defeat to England.

The 37-year-old, who represented the Wallabies in 20 Tests during the 1990s, will start in his new role in mid-November, the country's cricket board said in a statement yesterday.

The Australia team head coach, captain, chairman of selectors, team manager and centre of excellence manager will all report to Howard, the statement added. CA chief executive, James Sutherland, pointed towards Howard's strong background in sports.

"He has a background of success as a player, selector and coach, including 20 Tests as an Australian player, as well as playing and coaching success with the Leicester Tigers in England and was a high performance GM with the ARU," Sutherland said in a statement.

Howard will play an important role in the appointment of a new head coach following Tim Nielsen's resignation last month after the tour of Sri Lanka.

"We're very aware that the [Southern Hemisphere] summer is approaching and we want to have someone on board as quickly as possible," Sutherland told reporters.

"We have a clear focus right now on appointing a new head coach... and a selection panel with a full-time national selector and supporting selectors with that. We will very quickly work into the pointy end of that process."