Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2005-06 March 20, 2006

Woolmer refused Sri Lanka coaching role

Cricinfo staff



Bob Woolmer: Twice declined Sri Lanka's offer © Getty Images

Pakistan's coach, Bob Woolmer, twice turned down an offer to coach the Sri Lankan cricket team.

Woolmer, the former South Africa coach, said he had been taking time off from the game when the first offer was made, and had not been satisfied at the manner in which the second offer was made.

"The first time I was approached was soon after the 1999 World Cup when my contract with South Africa was over," said Woolmer, "but I wanted some time out from cricket and didn't quite consider the offer."

Woolmer, 57, who is back in Sri Lanka with the Pakistan team for two Tests and three one-dayers, said he had been interested in the assignment in 2003 but the officials did not have proper discussions with him.

"On the second instance the circumstances weren't right and therefore I declined," he said. "They were making offers of money without trying to sit down with me for a chat."

Although Woolmer's name was rumoured in cricket circles to replace Dav Whatmore three years ago, it was believed at the time that violence in the country had made him decline the offer.

But Woolmer said security was never a concern. "That's far from the truth. I love this place and my wife loves this place. It didn't worry me one bit. If I am going to die while coaching cricket, then so be it."

Sri Lanka were desperately searching for someone to replace Whatmore after the last World Cup and had an interim coach in former skipper Duleep Mendis before the Australian, John Dyson, was given the job. Dyson coached Sri Lanka for 18 months before being replaced by present coach Tom Moody, also an Australian.

Woolmer also indicated that he did not have many years left in coaching. "I am getting old for the job. Throwing hard at practice sessions and giving high catches are becoming difficult," he said. "I am contracted with the Pakistan Cricket Board till the 2007 World Cup and will assess what to do after that."

Woolmer made a name for himself in the early-1990s as Warwickshire's coach and later moved to South Africa, where he worked for five years. He was later appointed as the International Cricket Council's High Performance Manager and took up his present assignment in 2004.