ELEANOR HALL: Now to the latest on the sudden death of
Pakistani cricket coach, Bob Woolmer.
It’s unclear exactly what caused his death in the Jamaican capital but
those who knew him say he wasn’t the fittest man around.
And the wild street protests in Pakistan, and the burning of effigies of
players and officials after the team’s humiliating defeat at the hands of
Ireland, leave no doubt as to the pressure he must have been under.
Now the team’s captain has also announced his retirement from one-day
Jane Cowan reports.
JANE COWAN: Bob Woolmer’s sudden death came less than 24 hours after
Pakistan was shunted out of the Cricket World Cup in a shock defeat to Ireland.
Just yesterday he was telling the BBC he was considering quitting
international cricket in the wake of the loss.
BOB WOOLMER: I have said that I’m reluctant to continue in international
cricket, purely from the travelling and so on and so forth, but I will still be
coaching at a different level really.
But I think the decision has probably been made for me.
JANE COWAN: He’d told reporters he was going to sleep on his future.
But within hours Bob Woolmer was found slumped on the floor of his hotel
room, reportedly discovered by a cleaning lady.
H. G. HELPS: It’s a situation of real gloom here and I’m not sure how
badly this will affect the World Cup, but I’m sure it has.
JANE COWAN: H. G. Helps is the sports editor at CVM TV in Kingston.
He says Bob Woolmer’s death has thrust a gloomy mood across the World Cup
and the Jamaican capital, where the Pakistan team is loved.
He says police have been moving in and out Bob Woolmer’s room at the
Pegasus Hotel in the heart of the city, but so far there are few answers.
H. G. HELPS: Police, they aren’t saying much, if anything at all. They’ll
greet you with “no comment”, a flat “no comment” and “investigations
JANE COWAN: Bob Woolmer’s death has been felt at the highest levels, with
the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf calling it tragic.
Pakistan team spokesman P. J. Mir says Bob Woolmer was a popular coach.
P. J. MIR: His mood was fine. Of course he was disappointed that we lost to
And you know, there’s no question of that, I mean his disappointment was
there but he was fine. I mean, otherwise you know he was his usual self.
He had a tremendous rapport with the Pakistan cricket players. He had a
tremendous rapport with everybody.
JANE COWAN: The team’s media manager said the former England test batsman
suffered from a medical condition but was unable to confirm whether it had
caused his death.
There is no doubt cricket can be a stark and cruel game, especially in
Pakistan where the team’s humiliating defeat by Ireland triggered nothing
short of national fury - effigies of players and officials were burnt in several
Max Walker who played against Bob Woolmer says the game cost him one marriage
and takes a special sort of courage.
MAX WALKER: I never toured Pakistan, but you know, from arm’s length you
look at the Darrell Hair scenario in England, and Inzamam-ul-Haq and not coming
back onto the ground to forfeit there.
You had a couple of their fast bowlers that are not in the West Indies at the
moment, Shoaib Akhtar. It’s tumultuous, it’s a rollercoaster ride, the
emotion, and you know, sheer outcries of lack of performance by their team in
the West Indies at the moment.
It would have to play on your mind.
TONY GREIG: Well, he would have been under a lot of pressure in Pakistan.
I’ve spoken to him on numerous occasions about it.
JANE COWAN: Tony Greig sat on the committee that selected Bob Woolmer to play
for England when he first started playing test cricket
He says his friend struggled with constantly living out of hotel rooms.
TONY GREIG: Bob I think, suffered a fair bit from being away from his family.
He also recently, by the way, put on a fair bit of weight and I’m not too sure
whether that had anything to do with his health not being too good.
JANE COWAN: It’s true that Bob Woolmer didn’t cut the streamlined figure
of other coaches.
Cricket writer and broadcaster Peter Roebuck knew Bob Woolmer personally.
PETER ROEBUCK: He perhaps wasn’t the healthiest of men at 58, overweight
and so on and so forth. And that probably too was a reflection of his affability
and soft nature.
JANE COWAN: Pakistan still has another group match to play at the World Cup
against Zimbabwe on Wednesday night.
After that the players have to go on without their coach and their captain.
ELEANOR HALL: Jane Cowan reporting.