Tributes to Bob Woolmer March 18, 2007

'He gave his life to cricket and died for it' - Donald

Cricinfo staff



'He was great for the game, he worked hard all his life' - Waqar Younis © Getty Images

The cricket world was shocked to learn of Bob Woolmer's sudden death in Jamaica, a day after Pakistan's early exit from the World Cup. The tributes have started coming in.

"The news was pretty devastating, to be honest. He was a very, very close friend, actually more than as a coach.... He was a very respected man. We were together with Warwickshire and South Africa. Bob was an extremely professional man, was an extremely soft person, gave his life to cricket and probably paid for it."
Allan Donald

"I am shocked and badly hurt. We have lost a good coach and a good person. Woolmer was a fatherly figure to all of us and we have lost our greatest supporter."
Inzamam-ul-Haq

"I am extremely sad and very depressed at the news of Bob's untimely death. He worked a lot with me when I was out of international cricket with my action problems. I was going through a hard time and he really took time off, sought me out and really helped me get through some tough times. His technical knowledge was outstanding especially in these matters and he was a big help. He gave me great support in those days, which speaks volumes of the man. We have not only lost a great coach but a very fine man. You will be missed, Bob."
Shabbir Ahmed

"He was a friend of all the players. I used to call his wife, Gill, mom so he used to tease her that I am their third son. I know how it feels when you lose your close ones. Bob used to help each and every player and he has left a big void in Pakistan cricket."
Younis Khan

"Bob always treated me and other players as his sons. He would help any player who was in difficulty and he was the best coach under whom I have played."
Shahid Afridi

"He used to follow my county performance even when I was not in the Pakistan team. I owe him a great deal and we can never repay his help and services to us."
Azhar Mahmood

"The first thing, world cricket has lost a cricket scholar. You can't say much more than that for Bob Woolmer. He was thinking of new ideas all the time and took coaching to the next level. It is pity that he is no more with us, and world cricket will surely miss him."
Fanie de Villiers

"We are all greatly saddened by Bob Woolmer's passing. He was a great cricket man. His life was devoted to cricket."
Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the ICC

"He was a great lad, a great motivator. He was a bit eccentric at times but it is a terrible loss. I remember going to his house in Cape Town and many years ago he showed me his work room. He had everything on computers even then. This was before the technology was readily available and he showed me how he was going to monitor things and study each player's performance. He was one of the first to really work on the reverse-sweep shot, he probably worked at it too much. He taught people to go back when they were playing it rather than go forward to give batsmen more room to play and he developed a lot of that."
Former England captain Mike Denness, a teammate of Woolmer's at Kent

"We had a marvellous time together. Can't believe it happened. It happened so quickly. We can't do anything about it... huge tragedy for Pakistan cricket, a huge shock for the nation. Don't think I can take it very well.... Was a lovely man, very understanding..."
Shoaib Akhtar

"What Bob Woolmer did for a team that was at war with eachother was truly remarkable. He gave them a sense of direction, belonging, presence and a feeling of togetherness."
Rameez Raja

"The chairman, members of the ad-hoc committee and officials of Pakistan Cricket Board express their heartfelt condolences on the sudden and sad demise of Mr Bob Woolmer. Mr Woolmer was a highly respected personality in the world of cricket and had been serving Pakistan Cricket Team with great dedication for nearly three years. His presence will sorely be missed by all concerned with cricket in this country and by all those in the global cricket community. "Pakistan Cricket Board

"We were all very shocked when we found out. All of us had known Bob pretty well. A lot of us played under Bob, so it is obviously a huge sadness among the guys. We send our best out to his family, and I know a lot of the guys have been in contact with his wife. A lot of us had a close relationship with Bob over the last few months, especially having played against Pakistan. All of us socialised with him over a period of time. We will all have very fond memories of Bob - which is very important. The guys just hope his family can get things sorted out, and that is what is on most of the guys' minds at the moment."Graeme Smith

"Bob Woolmer was a wonderful man and also a very, very good cricketer. I first bumped into him when he was playing for Kent under Colin Cowdrey. He was a very good allrounder, an outswing bowler and batted at the top of the Kent innings. There was no doubt in my mind when I first saw him that Bob Woolmer would end up playing cricket for England. I had the pleasure of being captain and selecting him when that happened. He gave his all, all the time. He always felt that coaching Pakistan would be the big challenge but he always had it in the back of his mind that if he could get Pakistan together as a team, they could do something similar to what Australia has done in recent years, because of the incredible talent in that country. "
Tony Greig

"You really wanted to play for him. He was such a deep thinker of the game, you really genuinely believed him and he was always trying to take the game forward - and we went with him. He was a fantastic guy. As a man, he was soft, sensitive, a great impressionist - he entertained us."
Nick Knight, former Warwickshire player

His lifelong work has been a cricket book. It'll be a wonderful legacy, a great tribute to a great man Daryll Cullinan

"One of our 12th men bringing drinks out told us about it. Everyone just stood back in shock for quite a while. When I was out in the field I was thinking about lots of different things for probably the last 10 or 12 overs of the game. Everybody was immediately saddened by what we heard. We have played a game of cricket, but there are a lot of bigger things happening around the world. There always is. We sometimes get a bit carried away with what we do in sport. But when something like this happens it certainly rams home that there are other things around you all the time, happening."
Ricky Ponting

"On behalf of the England cricket team we know there has been a sad loss to the world of cricket with the death of Bob Woolmer today. We know how much he has had an impact on the world game, the English game and we know how greatly missed he's going to be. Today's win and the incidents of the last 48 hours have really hit home to us when we heard that Bob had died when we were on the field today. All our condolences go out to his family. It was only last Saturday that I was in the swimming pool in Montego Bay just talking to him. We were having fruit punches together just discussing the game and certain aspects of it. He was a great talker about the game, he had many ideas and innovative ideas and brought new things to the game. It's so hard to know that only five days ago you were in the swimming pool with him and now he's passed away. He's going to be greatly missed."
Michael Vaughan

"I first met Bob Woolmer in 1972 when we were playing the one-day series in England. He was picked in the England side as a one-day specialist. The Australians tended to laugh about this, feeling that either you are a good cricketer or you are not. You didn't need specialist for different types of games. Anyhow I was soon laughing on the other side of my face, because in the first game he clean bowled me and he might have got my brother Greg as well. We then became well and truly aware of Bob Woolmer in 1975, when he got a century at The Oval. He batted for three days, to help England save the game in the fourth Test match in the 1975 series. The thing I admired about Bob, was that he enjoyed helping young cricketers. He really had a genuine love for the game and liked passing on his knowledge. The cricket world will be all the poorer for his passing."
Ian Chappell

"It is unbelievable, we only heard it this afternoon. We worked with him for a few years as the ICC's high-performance manager, and he was very helpful for the Associates. It is a nightmare, it has overshadowed the game completely. He was so helpful, what he wanted us to do was get the basics right, that was very important to him. He was a very human coach, very approachable, I could talk with him all the time. We could always talk with him about cricket. He loved it."
Luuk van Troost, the Netherlands captain



'World cricket has lost a cricket scholar' - Fanie de Villiers © Getty Images

"I was very close to him, and I had the greatest respect for him as a man and a coach. We have all got to go, but not like this. I saw him just two weeks ago in Trinidad. I had the highest regard for him and he made a huge difference to South African cricket. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Goolam Raja, South Africa's team manager at the World Cup

"He was great for the game, he worked hard all his life. I've played with a lot of coaches, I think when it comes to professionalism, he was the best. He's been a great friend to the players"; On differences with Shoaib: "When you live together for 7-8 months, they're both different characters, you will have differences... But he's gone now, one shouldn't talk about this. He's given a lot to Pakistan cricket, he brought them from nowhere to the top."
Waqar Younis.

"It's a great shock, great tragedy. Didn't know that he was diabetic and had high blood sugar. We had a good relationship with him. He was a thorough professional; he was a wonderful person to work with.... My condolences to his family" -
Wasim Bari

"The passing of Bob Woolmer in Jamaica today casts a sad shadow over the 2007 Cricket World Cup . Bob was one of the world's greatest coaches and as a player his innings of 149 lasting more than 8 hours against Lillee and Thomson demonstrated not only how talented a player Bob was but also his pride in wearing the England sweater. But perhaps Bob will be best remembered as one of the world's leading coaches. He embraced innovation and was at the forefront of many new developments in the game..... Everyone at ECB extends our deepest sympathy to Bob's family - we have lost a great friend.'
ECB Chief Executive David Collier

"We are extremely grieved at his passing away. On behalf of the PCB let me say it's a moment of extreme grief for all of us. He met with a heart attack and died in hospital in Jamaica . This is all we know at this moment.... Bob was one of the greatest coaches in Pakistan and in world cricket... "
Amir Bilal, member of Pakistan Cricket Board

"It was an incredible shock to hear that news. Bob has been a person who has been around cricket for a heck of a long time, as a player, and certainly as a coach across the array of different spheres of coaching, he's been at the forefront of coaching for a long time. I think he's been a person who has certainly been outspoken on key issues, absolutely well-regarded by everybody, and from a coaching perspective, I think he's left a huge legacy that we can all follow. He's been an innovator, he's been a creator, he has an interest in a global way to look at the game. He'll be a huge loss to cricket forever, but he's left a fantastic legacy, one we can all aspire to - and from a playing perspective, he's influenced so many people. His legacy is unbelievably long."
John Buchanan

When something like this happens it certainly rams home that there are other things around you happening all the time Ricky Ponting

"He had this boyish enthusiasm and loved nothing more than talking morning, noon and night about the game and that is why he was the most sought after coach in the world. He was always enthusiastic and on the ball. So it was no surprise he went on to be the finest coach and manager in the world."
Derek Underwood

"My immediate thoughts are with his family and the Pakistan team and my deepest condolences go out to them. I had a wonderful relationship with Bob at Warwickshire in 1994 and our relationship continued to grow over the years even though we sat in different dressing rooms. He was a very focused man with a great love for the game but what shone through was the great love he had for players under his charge, everyone meant something to him."
Brian Lara

"I am sad at the news, I'm still not able to cope with the news. It is very sad that a gentleman cricketer and a great coach has died. I played a lot of cricket with him and knew him as a person. He was doing a difficult job because Pakistan play its cricket with a lot of passion and any loss means a lot to them. Woolmer's death will definitely affect the Pakistan team. He has left a legacy of cricket and he will be remembered for his services to England, South Africa and Pakistan cricket."
Barry Richards

"My first tour was to England and we go back many years as cricketers and friends. I valued his company. It's a sad day for the sport and the cricketing fraternity. This is totally unexpected. I knew he was upset and under intense pressure but no-one could have foreseen this. I send my condolences to his family."
Michael Holding

"We were a group of young boys on the international scene and quite frankly we were clueless. After a tour to the subcontinent he decided 'Right, we need to do something.' His intervention changed things and he shaped many careers - especially Jonty Rhodes, and his relationship with Hansie Cronje was legendary. Bob Woolmer was a cricketing man 24-7. He changed our games, changed our thinking. His lifelong work has been a cricket book. It'll be a wonderful legacy, a great tribute to a great man."
Daryll Cullinan

"Bob Woolmer's innovation will be a huge loss to world cricket, as will his willingness to share those thoughts. I knew Bob through our county relationships, he with Warwickshire and myself with neighbouring Gloucestershire. I also had quite an involvement with him when completing my Level 4 coaching where he was the specialist batting coach. He was known as the father of international coaching and like a lot of fathers he was also a mentor. He was tremendously well respected in the coaching world, he was a good listener and was well studied in the science of cricket."
John Bracewell



'His legacy is unbelievably long' - John Buchanan © AFP

"Our thoughts are with Bob's family. This has come as a huge shock to all of the England team. "He was a figure who commanded great respect within world cricket and he will be sorely missed."
Andrew Walpole, the ECB media manager

"Bob was respected worldwide. He developed into the finest cricket coach in the world. Bob was a very close friend. I am stunned and shocked, I cannot believe it. He was a tremendous professional cricketer and was dedicated to the game. The world will miss him. He did so much for the game. He was well liked and well respected."
Dickie Bird, former Test umpire

"Having played with him for England in the early 70s and 80s, I know what a dedicated player he was. But moreover, he had an almost childlike enthusiasm for cricket."
Bob Willis

"My prayers and thoughts are with Gill and the boys. Bob was a friend and a fantastic coach who had a huge impact on my career. He was passionate about the game and was always looking for new ideas and possible innovations to improve individuals and teams. He still had so much to offer the world of cricket and he will be sorely missed. I was very fortunate to have played under him for South Africa and Warwickshire. He did a great job for South Africa cricket while he was involved."
Shaun Pollock

"Bob Woolmer had such a massive influence on my cricket career, and I know that there are countless cricketers around the globe who are just as devastated as I am by his sudden passing. Bob literally gave his life for the game he loved so dearly, and while he had already made such an immense contribution to cricket, his premature death has deprived the game of someone who still had so much to offer the cricketing community. My thoughts and prayers are with Gill and the family."
Jonty Rhodes