Players, CA moving on from MoU: Pat Howard

Rob Forsaith

Pat Howard has started putting the logistical bricks in place for Australia's build-up to the Ashes as the healing process continues following a bitter pay dispute.

Howard was part of Cricket Australia's negotiation team that butted heads with the players' union for much of the year, while he also dealt directly with players throughout the row.

He burnt the candle at both ends and worked closely with skipper Steve Smith in the closing stages of the stoush, when the deadline of this month's Test tour of Bangladesh loomed large.

"For anybody that was involved, ACA or CA, it was taxing. It was tough," Howard told AAP.

"But that happens all the time.

"We're moving on."

For Howard that meant a round of contract meetings during the training camp in Darwin plus in-depth planning for this summer's Ashes.

Howard sat down individually with Smith and his teammates this week. They spoke about a range of topics but the message regarding pay talks was clear.

"What's done is done," the team-performance manager said.

"We've got a big couple of series ahead of us. Bangladesh, ODI and T20s in India, three Sheffield Shield games then the Ashes.

"We're back into it and if we start looking backwards too much, we get ourselves in trouble. We have to focus on the challenge ahead."

Howard invoked a similar mantra when asked about last month's boycotted Australia A tour of South Africa.

Test squad members Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright and Mitchell Swepson were among the players denied a golden chance to impress selectors.

"Regardless of why it happens, tours do not happen sometimes. You've got to adapt ... deal with it and move on," Howard said.

"Unfortunately some people have probably missed out on an opportunity to lay a claim, but that happens.

"Players have to take every opportunity that comes, that one didn't come."

One of Howard's chief responsibilities is plotting a path through the sport's overcrowded schedule.

He has already drawn up plans, with the help of Smith, selectors and coach Darren Lehmann, for a busy stretch headlined by the start of the Ashes on November 23.

"We know it's going to be a tough series and that's why we are doing that work this far out," he said.

"What is the right preparation for every payer? Who is in the eyes of selectors? How do we hit the ground running?"

Howard is confident Australia will be adequately prepared for the Ashes and a two-Test series in Bangladesh that starts on August 27.