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March 5, 2007

World Cup 2007

Road to Jamaica 4: Q&A with Bob Woolmer

Kamran Abbasi
Bob Woolmer is in a confident mood ahead of the second Test as Pakistan aim to wrap up the series following their win at Multan, Faisalabad, November 19, 2005
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On the eve of Pakistan's first warm-up match, I put a few questions to Bob. Here are his answers:

Question 1: Do you possess enough match-winning bowlers?

Bob's answer: Depending on the surfaces we have a well balanced attack. If they bowl as a unit we will be competitive. This world cup may well revolve around the batting performances - bowling in one day cricket now is more dependent on the disciplines they follow.

Q2: The view from the boundary, and the living room, is that Inzy's captaincy style is too laid back. Is that true? Is he capable of great leadership?

Bob: There are two answers to this question. His captaincy is fine for one-day cricket. I expect him to lead from the front.

Q3: Where will he bat?

Bob: That is for us to know and for the pundits and the opposition to find out.

Q4: The opening batsmen remain under pressure. Will you be trying any new strategies?

Bob: Opening batsmen in all teams are under pressure. Ours more so because of the tendency for all Pakistani pundits to believe they can do better.

Q5: Who is your finisher?

Bob: The batsmen in at the time. All players are aware that they have to take responsibility for finishing an innings. Malik at 6 is most likely to be there at the end if all goes well.

Q6: Can your legspinners win you the World Cup?

Bob: I personally wouldn't want to put them under any pressure to do so. A lot will depend on the type of surfaces we are playing on. Cricket remains a team game where we hope all players will contribute to winning.

Q7: How do you expect the pitches to play? Will they suit Pakistan?

Bob: This is the unknown factor, of the two practice pitches we have had they have both turned appreciably.

Q8: Who do you see as Pakistan's main threats?

Bob: All teams must be respected and each game must be taken one at a time. All sides are good enough to beat each other on the day.

Q9: Which players will you be asking to stand up and lead by example?

Bob: I expect all players to lead by example throughout the tournament.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by ALLEN VAZ on (March 23, 2007, 10:45 GMT)

I am great lover of cricket. Every cricket match I keep writing the scores of every over. And after the match fixing, I lost interest. But slowly started likeing the game but what a great shock and at what a time i.e. the world cup 2007 for such a crime and to a person who did so much for world cricket and loved by every nation, every community. I am certain the who so ever has committed this crime will have to pay for it. I am certain the law will take its course and bring the person to book and put a stop to this bookiies which is destroying the game. May his soul Rest In Peace.

Posted by Javaid Abbasi, DesMoines, Iowa, USA on (March 11, 2007, 14:10 GMT)

It seems everybody, including Pakistan's own coach Woolmer, has written Pakistan off. In a recent interview he said South Africa was his favourite team. What a morale booster for Pakistan team!! Well done, Bob Woolmer! But Pakistan may yet turn out to be the dark horses of the tournament and has the full potential to surprise every one. Lets settle down and watch the show! My prediction for semifinal spots are: Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It may be out of place here to talk about it but just a word about Shoaib Akhtar. What a talent he was but how badly he wasted it. If he had concentrated solely on playing cricket and had been more respectful towards his captain, coach and had shown more class in his personality - and if he had been more dedicated to Pakistan team - he would have surely gone down as one of the greatest players in the history of world cricket, not just in Pakistan history! Now, he would probably be remembered as a villain in Pakistan cricket history.

Posted by Asif Naqvi on (March 11, 2007, 13:59 GMT)

Atleast one of the south asian nations will qualify for the world cup finals this time.the logic behind this argument is that the carribean pitches are somewhat similar to the Indo-pak pitches with relatively low bounce,swing and slow turn in them. In the same way,nations wich have lively tracks at home would face difficulty in adjusting with the local conditions,especially Australia n South Africa. Only a psychologically weak captain Inzamam can harm paki cause in this world cup.pakistan has produced satisfactory results at the warm-up stage,lets see if they can stretch it far from here? A weak west indian performance at the warm-up stage promises a good paki start at the world cup openner!

Posted by mohammed on (March 11, 2007, 4:53 GMT)

last world cup for lot of players like sachin, inzamam,lara,pointing,pollock,khallis and more. im hoping pollock,khallis deserves more because they always have heartbreakers.

Posted by Imran on (March 11, 2007, 3:21 GMT)

I have always had respect for Bob but was very dissapointed by his recent Blog in which he mentions that he believes South Africa has the best chances to win the cup! My issue is not that SA is not a good team (they surely are although I dont think they have the heart to win the WC!) but that he is a coach of Pakistan! What kind of coach highlights the likeliness of another team winning even before the games have started! What kind of motivation is this for the Pakistani side. If their own coach doesnt believe in them, they will not believe in their capabilities either. Very dissapointing indeed.

Posted by Nabeel Siddiqui on (March 10, 2007, 19:57 GMT)

Is that only me or does anyone else also feel that Bob is just trying to get-by with this coach of the Pakistan team job? I don't see any intensity in his personality and he just seems to be interested in keeping his job by being a yes man for Inzi. We all know that in desperate situations (I hope that's not the state of the Pakistani team, but we all know the facts)pep-talks and morale boosting and adrenaline pumping speeches by the coaches and captains in the locker rooms and dugouts insire athletes to work their tails off and bring the best out of them - remember the 1992 WC?

So if Inzi does not have that quality to pump the "BOYZ" up, shouldn't the task be picked up by the well paid prfessional coach who otherwise seems to be quite uncapable of fixing the technical problems of the team, running between the wickets and fielding, to name a couple!

Team management should probably show the "BOYZ" the "Pakistan Cricket Tribute clips" with some inspiring patriotic music.

Posted by Imran Quraishi (New Jersey) on (March 9, 2007, 21:10 GMT)

I think Kamran Abbasi missed a golden opportunity to grill Bob properly. My set of questions would be totally different than his and hope you guys would like em as they are very direct and based on facts.

Q1: What the heck was Kamran Akmal doing in the gym without wearing proper footwear.Is he so broke that he can't even afford to buy a proper pair of sneakers. He became a laughing stock by acting so unprofessionally and what if he would have slipped and gotten hurt and added another name to the injured list which is longer than Youhana's beard.No wonder why players are getting injured left and right.Isn't this your responsibility Bob to oversee what he is doing? Q2: Why was Shoaib fined $2500 and you got away without even apologizing to him after calling him blackie. His injury was genuine and he was trying to tell you that he has a hamstring injury but you were suspicious of him and called him names and thought his injury was fake.Is this the way a professional coach behaves with his team? Q3:Why the hell did you not speak out when they replaced Waqar and hired Mushtaq as the bowling coach? Waqar is the best bowling coach one can find and you for some reason were jealous of Waqar and thought that your job was in jeapordy and decided to get rid of him.Is Mushtaq who is a leg spinner better than him and if he is then in what sense? Q4: Have you thought about keeping a beard so that your job is secured for the next 20 yrs as more than half the team is based on mullahs and anyone who has a beard is in and the ones without are left behind so that they can grow a very long one just in time for the next world cup.Unfortunately if Waqar would have kept one, then he would still be our bowling coach as Inzi loves men with long and thick beards? Q5:Why did you not ask PCB to prepare fast piches as our batsmen have a problem playing on fast and bouncy pitches when they head for overseas. Have you done anything in regards to this problem? Q6:Why is Salman Butt,Anwar Ali,Rehman and Fawad Alam not in this team? Q7:What the hell is Rao Iftikhar doing in this team? This team is not for club cricketers and for sifarshi bharti please. Thanks all. Hope you guys liked my questions.

Posted by Shehzad on (March 9, 2007, 21:07 GMT)

U c guys. I already told u this nazir is a nothing batsman. U still dont beleave? ok, But the time will come itself u ppls will beleave me.

Posted by Fakhar Masood Huntsville Alabama USA on (March 9, 2007, 15:03 GMT)

I thought Kamran asked good questons but most of them were too nosy and too obvious. A coach does not have to tell a journalit what he is going to do. It will be foolish to expect him to reveal his stretegy. He is not morally bound to answer any of these questions and quite righty so Bob did not. Bob and Inzi are not magicians. We expect too much from them. Cricket is a team game and no one has a future knowledge to tell in advance who is going to score runs and who s going to get the batsmen out. It is all too speculative and a coach cant speculate any better than a layman. For insance, how would Bob now whether a leg spinner would win the match? No mattger what the coach does the so called pundits are waiting to say"Got ya". It is utterly unfair. I think Bob has been a very good coach for our team and a lot less controvercial than Miandad. He has the respect of most of the team and he has not divided in to many factions like used to be the case. The matches will be won with strong wills, disciplined performance, full focus, physical fitness and playing the percentages. Pakistan lacks in each one of those categories hence it would take an act of nature for them to win the world cup. We love them and we wish hem to win but the odds are against them. Yes, they do have talent but can they apply it consistantly is hard to say.

Thanks

Fakhar Masood Huntsville AL USA

Posted by Ch V Kalyan on (March 9, 2007, 10:56 GMT)

Kamran - what did you expect? The questions were very vague and completely cliche.

The questions you asked should have been reserved for the post-tournament interview

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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