The Pakistan team is due to leave Jamaica at 6pm on Saturday, Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said, seeking to scotch speculation that the team had been asked to stay back in the West Indies in connection with the Bob Woolmer murder case.
Ashraf, who resigned as the PCB chairman after Pakistan's defeat to Ireland on Saturday, said at a press conference in Islamabad that the team had "seen unbelievable stress and trauma". He said his effort would be to have the team return to Pakistan, where "their families are very perturbed, very anxious".
Ashraf revealed that Woolmer had sent him an email on the morning of his murder on Sunday in which he said he had decided to announce his retirement from coaching after the 2007 World Cup to settle down in Cape Town.
"On the morning after we lost to Ireland, Woolmer had sent me an email [dated March 18] in which he also expressed his great disappointment over the stunning defeat," Ashraf said. "But he still believed his boys tried their best and fought till the last to make the most of the match."
Woolmer's email said: "I would like to praise my association with the Pakistan team but now I would like to announce my retirement after the World Cup to live the rest of my life in Cape Town [South Africa]."
Ashraf said the email's transmission time was 6.00pm last Sunday. "As I was on tour from Sunday, I could not check my email and it was only today [Thursday] that I saw the message from Woolmer." Woolmer, Ashraf said, was not shy of accepting the responsibility of Pakistan's poor show at the World Cup.
Ashraf, whose resignation has not been accepted by Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf, said he had "no lust for the job". "I will not like others to make personal remarks at me," he said. "Professionally, I am open to criticism. I will be ready to continue the job if the president asked me for it."