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Sports: Cricket(Robert Andrew "Bob" Woolmer England (Eng))
English Flag
Robert Andrew "Bob" Woolmer
England (Eng)
Robert Andrew "Bob" Woolmer
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling type Right-arm medium
Tests ODIs
Matches 19 6
Runs scored 1059 21
Batting average 33.09 5.25
100s/50s 3/2 -/-
Top score 149 9
Balls bowled 546 321
Wickets 4 9
Bowling average 74.75 28.88
5 wickets in innings - -
10 wickets in match - N/A
Best bowling 1/8 3/33
Catches/stumpings 10/- 3/-

 

Robert Andrew "Bob" Woolmer (May 14, 1948 – March 18, 2007) was an international cricketer and professional cricket coach. He played in 19 Test matches and 6 One Day Internationals for England and later coached South Africa, Warwickshire and Pakistan.

Early career

Bob Woolmer, who was born in 1948 in the hospital across the road from the cricket ground in Kanpur, India, was the son of Clarence Woolmer, a cricketer who played Ranji Trophy for United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). Woolmer was educated at first Yardley Court and then Skinners School both in Tonbridge, Kent. At the age of 15, Colin Page the coach and captain of the Kent second XI converted him from an off-spinner to a medium pace bowler. His first job was as a sales representative for ICI and his first senior cricket was with the Tunbridge Wells club and with Kent's second XI. In 1968, at the age of 20, he joined the Kent staff and he made his championship debut against Essex. His ability to move the ball about at medium-pace was ideally suited to one-day cricket in which form of the game he became a specialist. He won his county cap in 1969. Woolmer began his coaching career in South Africa in 1970-71 at the age of 22 and by 1975, when he made his Test debut, he had become a teacher of physical education at a prep school in Kent as well as running his own cricket school - at the time one of the youngest cricket school owners anywhere.

Playing career

Bob Woolmer played English county cricket for Kent, initially as an all-rounder. He graduated to Test cricket with England in 1975 again, at first, as an all-rounder, having taken a hat-trick for MCC against the touring Australian cricket team with his fast-medium bowling. But he was dropped after his first Test, only reappearing in the final match of the series at The Oval where he scored 149, batting at number five, then the slowest Test century for England against Australia. Further batting success followed over the next two seasons, including two further centuries against Australia in 1977.

Woolmer was also a regular in England ODI cricket from 1972 to 1976. But Woolmer's international career stalled after he joined the World Series break-away group run by Kerry Packer. Though he appeared intermittently in the Test team up to 1981, he never recaptured the form of the mid 1970s. He also took part in the South African rebel tours of 1982, a move that effectively ended his international career.

Coaching career

Woolmer had obtained his coaching qualification in 1968. After retiring from first class cricket in 1984, he emigrated to South Africa where he coached cricket and hockey at high schools.He also became involved in the Avendale Cricket Club in Athlone, Cape Town. He preferred to join a 'coloured' club rather than a white one in apartheid South Africa. He was an inspiration to Avendale and was instrumental in assissting the club to grow and be successful. Through his association there is still an annual programme for a talented Avendale cricketer to spend a summer at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire. He returned to England in 1987 to coach the second eleven at Kent. He went on to coach the Warwickshire County Cricket Club in 1991, the side winning the Natwest Trophy in 1993, and three out of four trophies contested the next year.

He was appointed coach of South Africa in 1994. In the next five years, South Africa would win most of their test (5 out of 10 series) and One-day International matches (73%). However, the side failed narrowly in their bid to make the final of the 1999 World Cup, and Woolmer resigned. Woolmer was a strong candidate to replace David Lloyd as coach of England in 1999 but wanted a break from cricket and was reluctant to lead England in a tour of South Africa so soon after having relinquished the South Africa coach job. He was appointed coach of the Pakistan team in 2005.

2006 ball-tampering row

Claims that South African players lifted the seam in 1997 were made by former International Cricket Council match referee Barry Jarman who alleged that during a triangular one-day tournament involving South Africa, Zimbabwe and India in early 1997 a match ball confiscated after just 16 overs — still in Jarman’s possession — bears the ravages of tampering by Woolmer’s team.

August 27: Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was forced to defend his reputation when it was claimed South African players tampered with the ball when he was in charge of the team in 1997.

August 28: On the eve of Pakistan’s Twenty20 international against England in Bristol, Woolmer reacted to claims that South African players lifted the seam. At a loss to recall anything of the sort, the coach said: “I just cannot and do not understand why Barry Jarman has said this. As far as I’m concerned, it’s fiction. “As far as I know, I don’t ever remember a ball being taken off after the 16th over. I surely would have remembered it. “I wasn’t ball-scratching. I’m the coach. What does he think ... that I teach ball-scratching?” A mystified Woolmer has even taken the step of contacting the officials in the match he believes is in question — and he reports they are unaware of any wrong-doing. "Go and ask the two umpires in the same game that I’m supposed to have done this," he advised. "They will say that they don’t know anything about it." Woolmer, echoing the hopes of England captain Andrew Strauss, believes a return to the field of play can help mark a watershed which pushes the ball-tampering crisis of the past week off the front of the agenda. Woolmer is determined to set such thoughts aside. "We want to play cricket, entertain everyone as much as we can and win this series," he said ahead of the Twenty20 and the five one-dayers.

“We are looking forward to the cricket and getting everything else that’s happened over the past week out of the way. “What’s happened in the past week has not been good for cricket. We just want to leave that alone now and get on with the rest of the tour.” Woolmer remains optimistic that wish will prove achievable. “All the players want to do is forget what has happened. We think that is possible,” he said.

Woolmer had stated in 2006 that he believed that ball-tampering should be allowed in cricket and that a modification to existing laws should be made.

Death during 2007 World Cup

On 18 March 2007 at approximately 17:15 UTC, it was reported that Bob Woolmer had been taken to hospital after he was found unconscious in his hotel room in Kingston, Jamaica. He was taken to the nearby University Hospital but it was later confirmed that he had died. The cause of death is currently unknown and a post mortem will be carried out as required by Jamaican law. Pervez Mir, the Pakistan team media manager said that Woolmer had suffered from an un-named medical condition although Naseem Ashraf, the Chairman of the PCB, later said that Woolmer had complained of breathing difficulties before the team left for the World Cup, and also revealed that he had been a diabetic. Pervez Mir also stated that there was blood on Woolmer and vomit on the walls. His son was subsequently reported as saying that Woolmer may have died as a result of stress brought on by his job or from a heart attack.

Tributes were paid to Woolmer by members of the Pakistan cricket team, and by the cricketing community including former cricketer Michael Holding and former umpire Dickie Bird. Teams wore black armbands, flags in the stadiums were flown at half-mast and a minute's silence was observed before the games in his honour; on both the Monday after his death and in the final 2007 World Cup match for Pakistan, against Zimbabwe.



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