Lets remember Bob Woolmer, who took on a painstaking errand of coaching our cricket champs.
Robert Andrew Woolmer was born on 14 March 1948 in Kanpur India.
As an international cricketer, professional cricket coach and also a professional commentator, he played in 19 Test matches and 6 One Day Internationals.
Entering the realm of coaching in 1969, late Woolmer had the honor of coaching cricket teams of South Africa, England and Pakistan.
On 18 March 2007, Woolmer died suddenly in Jamaica, just a few hours after the Pakistan team’s unexpected elimination at the hands of Ireland in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. His death came out as a mystery to the whole cricket fraternity.
Initially the Jamaican police had said they were probing a murder case but after three months they announced that the former England cricketer had died of natural causes. Inzamam-ul-Haq, who was the Pakistan captain in the World Cup and worked closely with Woolmer, said that the period spent in Jamaica after Woolmer’s death was the worst of his life.
“What happened was tragic. Bob’s death came as a big shock for all of us even before we could recover from the defeat to Ireland,” former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed said.
“We were treated like murder suspects and all sorts of accusations were made without anyone realising how close the players were to Woolmer,” Inzamam said.
“We worked as a team with Woolmer and there is no doubt that he was one of the best coaches I have seen in my career,” he added.
Danish Kaneria, who was a member of the World Cup squad, said that there was no doubt that Woolmer’s “shocking” death left the players shattered.
“He took it (the defeat) hard but we never expected it to end in his death. It was shocking for all of us,” Kaneria said.
He said Woolmer meant a lot to Pakistan cricket and this could be seen in the way as the Pakistan Cricket Board had also named a section of the national academy after him. The Pakistan board also issued a tribute on the occasion of Woolmer’s third death anniversary pointing out he had done a lot for Pakistan cricket.
Inzamam Ul Haq was the captain in that World Cup and considered to be very close to Woolmer, who served as Pakistan coach between 2004 and 2007, building up close relationships with number of players.
On Woolmer anniversary Inzamam said “Woolmer’s death remains a sad chapter in Pakistan’s cricket history. Four years have passed since that day in Kingston, all of us still have fond memories of him”. He added the events that followed Woolmer’s death still haunt many players because some of them were treated like criminals by the Jamaican police.
Posthumously honoured with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), a high ranking civil award of Pakistan, for his contribution to Pakistan cricket. A Cricket academy is also named after this deceased coach in Lahore as “Bob Wolmer National Indoor Cricket Academy Lahore”
Long live Woolmer’s legacy of untiring sportsmanship. May his soul rest in eternal peace.