from past mistakes'
'Sri Lanka has improved tremendously
and come a long way in the world arena' - Woolmer
By Bernie Wijesekera
"Last Wednesday our frontline batsmen let us down badly and
that cost us the game. Indisciplined batting and needless run outs
made us give Sri Lanka the game on a platter. Had we made a total
a little excess of 200 we could have made a game of it, but, today
it is a do-or-die battle. During the past few days we have put in
a lot of work and we are ready to tackle any situation on its own
merit." Said the Pakistan new coach Bob Woolmer, who was coming
home after a bad day in office after the game against Sri Lanka.
seventies cricketer, Bob played for England along with legends in
the calibre of the late Sir Colin Cowdery, Derek Underwood, Alan
Knott and Tony Greig and was a workmanlike top order batsman who
had a top score of 149 against Australia in Tests.
profile coach in the world arena, Woolmer made his niche by nurturing
South Africa back into the 'big time' by handling them from 1994
to 1999. Besides South Africa Woolmer had stints with English County
Warwickshire and the ICC's High Performance Initiative Programme.
is the challenge that I was looking for. Prior to taking this up
my whole family sat together had a long chat and took a collective
decision. I cannot go at this rate when I am sixty years old and
this is the most opportune time and I took it with both hands. I
have 36 years of experience behind me and I want to give that to
Pakistan who have an abundance of talent." said the 56-year-old
former English middle order batsman.
his stint with South Africa Woolmer said "They are keen learners,
very inquisitive, athletic and most of all they come out from a
very good basic structure and they are keen to learn. All these
factors made my job easy. However when I was engaged with the ICC's
high performance programme I missed the day to day aspects of coaching
and I was keen to get back to my pet subject".
being offered to coach Sri Lanka some time ago and turning it down
Woolmer said "It was too soon after my stint with the South
Africans and I really needed a break" and, added "As a
team Sri Lanka has improved tremendously and come a long way in
the world arena. Your two fast bowlers Vaas and especially Nuwan
Zoysa are bowling very well at present. Vaas is persevering and
he never gives up trying, he needs watching. Zoysa has definitely
improved and he also has got bigger than when I last saw him. They
must work harder and build mental toughness so that they can gear
themselves to the pressures of world cricket." Coming on to
the subject of spin wizard Muttaih Muralitheran the "top bracket"
coach said "Murali has a unique style which the current letter
of the law makes it a problem. However I do not think that he throws
the ball. He indeed is a great bowler".
back to Pakistan cricket Woolmer continued "They have one of
the best Cricket Academies in the world at Lahore and Pakistan also
have one of the best nurseries and is oozing with talent. The current
side is young and talented and are willing to work hard on their
basics. At present they are working on a long term programme and
most of these young cricketers of today will be just ripe with experience
when it comes to the world cup of 2007."
The Pakistan Cricket Board met me some time ago and I made a presentation
to them and we built on that. It suited me in every way. It was
the challenge that I was looking for. The financial gains also were
attractive so here I am. I know that Pakistan is not the easiest
place to work, but the point is to get every one behind the team
and work as one unit. We do not need to worry about what happened
in the past, but we need to learn from it and try not to repeat