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March 18, 2007

World Cup 2007

The tragedy of Bob Woolmer

Kamran Abbasi

Bob Woolmer's death is an utter shock. He was a thoroughly decent man who wanted the best for Pakistan cricket and its talented players. I had utmost respect for Bob's dedication to Pakistan cricket and never doubted his desire for the team to succeed. Ultimately he failed. Much of that was to do with the failures of the Pakistan system and the domineering approach of Inzamam. Some of the responsibility did rest with Bob, and he knew it.

At the end of Pakistan's tour to England he promised me that he would do more to assert his ideas upon the team's strategy. But within days Pakistan cricket was in turmoil. A new captain, a new board chairman, and a new feel to Pakistan cricket. I'm not sure Bob ever recovered his poise after that but his commitment to the cause meant that he stuck with it. I am shocked and distraught at Bob's loss to world cricket, and feel great sadness for his family who he always spoke of fondly. He may not have succeeded in the way that he wished with Pakistan but he was brave enough to take on an almost impossible job.

Some readers have rebuked me for criticising Bob in my open letter. To my mind, that's an insult to Bob's intelligence. He was a media man. He understood how the media works. He expected criticism and responded well to it. He was robust enough to challenge his critics, and would take them on directly. He expected me to call it as I see it and would give his honest views in return. We had a great professional relationship because we both wanted the same thing: Pakistan to succeed. If I thought it was time for Bob to go he would have expected me to tell him, although of course he may have disagreed. That is a measure of the man, a thinker, a debater, and an innovator.

My last exchange with Bob occurred before Pakistan's match against Ireland. He was cautiously optimistic. I asked him whether Pakistan could win the cup. He said: "Inshallah, to quote the team."

I then asked him if he would soon be compliant with the Urdu-only policy and he replied: "What sort of rubbish is that [policy] it was mainly instituted to allow those poor in English to express themselves now it has taken on a very different turn. I will have to brush up on my Urdu quickly - Gurrum Chai do chini!"

In many ways the skill of Bob Woolmer was wasted on Pakistan cricket and many millions of Pakistan cricket fans around the world are grateful to him for taking up the challenge.

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

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Posted by LeupoldEst on (August 27, 2010, 1:45 GMT)

pretty cool stuff here thank you!!!!!!!

Posted by Sumair Arif on (May 16, 2009, 7:56 GMT)

I Sumair Arif from U.A.E felt sorry 4r His Family and Friends....May He is resting in peace

Posted by cricket maniac on (June 14, 2007, 15:26 GMT)

I think Jamaican police either under pressure or under influence of money are hiding the fact that bob woolmer was murdered. After stangulation mark on his neck, poison in champagne, etc. was revealed. There is no dount in lots of people's mind that he was actually mudered.

Posted by Ali Bawa on (April 7, 2007, 10:55 GMT)

I would just like to say ... when would be able to stand up as a nation and fight for ourslves. Bob dies in West Indies and they were investigating from the Pakistani Team about his death holding them suspect. I mean why cant our board ask for an apology from WI cricket board .. why cant we raise our concerns about security..if GOd Forbid had he dies in Pakistan we may have lost our membership of ICC. We should pressurize ICC and make our self clear once and for all that these things happen every where then wht blame us PAkistanis only for it

Posted by Adeel Ahmad on (March 30, 2007, 8:46 GMT)

If the same incident happened in Pakistan AUS, NZ, ENG, SA and WI would have left immediately citing security concerns. But here people dont realize that this was a big big deal. Just imagine what would have been the reaction if Australia's coach forbid got murdered. John Howard(PM)would have been criticising the authorities for lack of security and proper investigation. WHY THE BIG GAP IN TREATMENT, ICC PLEASE SEE THIS ISSUE WITH A FAIR EYE. THATS THE LEAST THAT WE DESERVE.

Posted by Shahzad Umar on (March 27, 2007, 11:36 GMT)

I cannot believe that nobody has raised any security concerns over the death of Bob Woolmer. Had the same incident happened in Pakistan, ICC would have banned any series in Pakistan for the next five years. The tournament would have been called off and God knows what else. Since the WC is in West Indies, which is a tourist sopt with lots of ^^ATTRACTIONS^^, nodbody is bothered about it. It took them two days to identify that he was strangled. even a layman can identify marks on the neck in a few seconds. How was the hotel secure if someone killed Woolmer during the day, even if Woolmer knew the person. And then they have the guts to stop the Pakistani team and query every1.

Posted by anser azim on (March 25, 2007, 16:34 GMT)

There is God's Hikmat in everything. Bob's tragic death under suspicious circumstances is beyond comprehension. I thanked God for saving Pakistan from another embarrassment, had Shoib been with the squad. His previous altercation with Bob could have given the media a suspect in this case. I hope and pray for the Pakistani cricket and for Pakistan in particular. I hope the real culprits are nabbed soon. I still believe that its not murder and simply a case of sudden cardiac arrest!!!.

Posted by israr on (March 23, 2007, 23:18 GMT)

R.I.P Bob and may allah give strength to Bob's wife and 2 sons in this very sad time. I hope that they catch whoever was responcible for this.

Bob tried his best with our Khotas (donkeys) but like all before him nothing he did had the desired effect. Sack the whole team, change the domestic game and build a new team of youngsters. make Imran Khan the chairman of PCB and the coach only he can wield a stick strong enough to whip the team into place and he proved it - 1992, need I say more.

Israr North England

Posted by Mohammad on (March 23, 2007, 20:11 GMT)

Great man Great coach .My condolences to his family.

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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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