"The moth burns to be near the flame"
The above statement to me categorizes in short the journey of Bob Woolmers life. He started out in Kent as a swinging all rounder who batted at the number 9 slot. He reinvented himself and made his batting stronger to earn a spot for the England test team in July 1975 funnily enough as a bowling all rounder. The highlight of his career came against Australia when he made 149 against Australia batting by now at the number 3 slot in the famous Ashes series. He
fell away in obscurity after that for a while but returned to coach
Kent and then Warwickshire where he made his mark as a genius gone
unnoticed. With his open approach and friendly nature he then went on to coach South Africa and was the key person responsible for their turning into a cricketing juggernaut. He must have gone through some heartbreak when the S.A team went out of the 1999 World cup drawing a semifinal to Australia but not advancing due to a difference of 0.1 in the run rate.
He was so open
minded and understanding of an individual that all the players who he
has coached refer to him to this day as a key turning point and
motivator in their careers. It is said he was sad
but understanding when the Hanse Cronje affair broke, he resigned soon
after that from his posiiton of S.A coach and was with the ICC for a
while as a high efficiency coach, traveling all around the word to
various minnow nations.. of whom he was a great believer in, using his
candor and his spirit to spread the word of cricket far and wide. When presented with an opportunity to coach Pakistan
the most mercurial of sides in Cricket today, he jumped at it and
resigned from the ICC position to join up as the Pak team coach.
In his tenure as coach and Inzimam’s captaincy, nothing was as obvious as the calm he brought with him. Although
he was criticized heavily by some of the local media for coaching a
team who were not fluent in English while he was not in Urdu he managed
to work wonders with them. It is of no small measure to see that most of the Pakistan players thought of him as a father more than a coach.
To me his face at the eve of Pakistan’s exit from the World cup ironically at the hands of a minnow team Ireland was too glum. He seemed to be badly hurt by his team’s loss, all his work towards this great event going in vain as Pakistan crashed out. However
now that it has been proved that Woolmer was murdered, maybe he was
glum because the loss he felt was one of trust rather than
accomplishment? He told reporters he would sleep on his future plans
for tonight, but Bob Woolmer never woke up from that sleep, he was
brutally assaulted and murdered. Perhaps he got too
close to underworld connections and the danger that lurks in those
areas with the material he was gathering for his book, which had a
chapter on match fixing in it. Perhaps he had
information which went with him to the grave, about the nefarious
behind the scenes going on’s of this great sport. In any case he was
silenced; a great voice lost for ever, maybe by an enraged and phycotic
fan even, who knows. At this moment the World cup is second page news,
as police are on a man hunt for Bob Woolmer’s murderers. There are also
several fingers being pointed in one general direction, that being
Pakistan, who although having had their fair share of controversy this
last year, should not be blamed for his death without evidence. All
I can think of at this horrifying moment are Bob Woolmers famous words
"My philosophy," he used to say, "is that your mind is like a parachute
- if it doesn't open, it won't work." That was Woolmer, and perhaps his
message is what we need to adher to today.
May he rest in peace.