World of India!: Bob Woolmer - a fine legacy marred by a troubled last inning e

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Bob Woolmer - a fine legacy marred by a troubled last inning

Various T.V channels have just reported the shocking news of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer having died,after Pakistan's shocking defeat to minnows Ireland.

Woolmer was a controversial man having been attacked by numerous ex-cricketers as well as commentators, not to say the Pakistani cricket fans for his coaching methods. Lately Imran Khan had trained his guns on him accusing him of playing too defensively and of bringing the English county cricket mentality into Pakistani cricket, thus robbing the Pakistani team of their natural aggression. For this Khan had repeatedly demanded that Woolmer be sacked.

Sunil Gavaskar, another cricketing legend was never impressed by Woolmers
excessive use of his laptop in coaching and mocked him many a times on T.V. Woolmer had a software which had the capability to analyse every ball that had been balled in cricketing history and he used computing capabilities to its fullest in devising is game plans. Gavaskar was never sceptical of this and opined that this was a mere waste of time, as cricket was played in the field and not on the dressing room laptop.

All said and done, Woolmer's methods were not without merit. He was the chief architect behind the South African teams amazing success in International cricket, since their rehabilitation into world cricket post the apartheid era. So successful was he in building an almost clinically professional side that Woolmer and his laptop became the talk of the cricketing world.

He was snapped up by the Pakistani Cricket board who hoped the Woolmer would work the same wonders with the Pak team. Here Woolmer failed miserably, but not on account of his faults, as much as that of the temperamental Pak cricketers and haphazard administration of the Pak cricket board. Perhaps for the first time in Woolmers life, his was expected to perform in a environment which was not predictable and therefore easy to analyze on a laptop. Which machine for instance could predict when Inzamam would be run out next, whether Shoaib would resort to dope to improve his balling speed, repeatedly question his authority as coach and even push him in front of T.V cameras? How could Woolmer predict the shenanigans of the Pak cricket board which was ultimately controlled by none other than President Musharraf himself and was run on his whims and fancies with administrators being changed like soiled cricketing whites?

Greg Chappel, another coach who is a stern disciplinarian is also running into the same problems in India, where discipline and authority are not very welcome to our cricketing superstars and our cricket board, which is run in a totally ad hoc manner.

Both these coaches are not used to sub- continental way of working. Neither are they familiar with the cultural context of the place. With their taciturn manner, both have been accused of acting aloof and not bothering to know the players and concentrating more on strategy /tactics, but in the process not even knowing their players as human beings. The western ways of communicating and working which are very goal and task oriented and to which the English, S.African, NZ and Australian cricket players are used to , don't seem to work with our sub-continental emotional lot.

So when the results did not come out to the liking of the public, the pressure on Woolmer was enormous.Finally Woolmer paid a price.Fittingly,he was last caught on camera packing his beloved laptop for good, before leaving for the hotel. But he will always be remembered for playing a big role in changing the game to where it is now.


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