A Killer Match

Posted on March 19, 2007. Filed under: Cricket |

Obituary: Bob Woolmer

Yesterday, millions of Pakistani cricket fans saw Bob Woolmer put his head on the table after Shoaib Malik was caught. You could see the agony of watching the Pakistani team falling apart on his face. While watching the game with my friends I made a comment that he is probably taking a mental inventory of all his possessions in Pakistan that need to be shipped out before he reaches back. This morning (U.S.A Pacific time) when I read the sad news of his demise I could not help but re run that clip in my head.

I was preparing to write something else today but changed my mind. I want to take some time and thank Bob for his service to Pakistani cricket.

“As fanatic fans of cricket we welcomed the news when you were appointed the head coach of Pakistani cricket team. In the next few months we saw improvement in the performance and fighting spirit of the team. The zenith came when a team heavy on young talent drew the test series in India and won the ODI series. We beat India and England at home and won against Sri Lanka and drew against West Indies aboard. Things were looking good for the world cup. Then came the away tours of England and South Africa. We saw the team crumble and started asking for your head to roll. It was a natural response of a volatile fan base and being good Pakistanis that we are, we were fast to reach the conclusion that if everything else is great then the only thing that is stopping us from reaching the top must be the coach. Lets face it , we had the best bunch of individual performers and as everyone says the best team on paper. They were becoming religious and even praying together. By God’s grace they were even starting to look alike. Instead of one Inzi, we were going to get to the field with 11 Inzis. Most of the team even performed Umra and started dropping Allah’s name in every sentence that came out of their mouths. We even left everything on Allah. Our team’s fitness, bowling, batting and even fielding. Well that didn’t go very well.

Today we realize that you did all you could to make champions out of this sorry bunch of wannabes. You could only teach them the skills to overcome their shortcomings. The final application was their job. You could teach them the virtues of teamwork but it was their job to become a cohesive and fighting unit. You could tell them what they meant to the Pakistani citizens but you could not teach them the basics of responsibility. You Sir, did your job admirably. They on the other hand screwed it up for you and the public that had elevated them to the thrones of celebrity.

You gave your life with dignity and honor before being put through the hell that was sure to come in the next few days. Pakistani citizens and cricket fans were sharpening their swords, myself included. Unfortunately it took your death to make us realize that it was never your fault. The rot of the team had started long before you took reign of it. You were just the watchman on duty when that grown tree fell. You could not bear the pain of watching your team humiliated by a bunch of amateur cricketers.

May you enjoy your days playing with Bradman, Grace, Laker, Nawab Pataudi Sr., Abdul H. Kardar and Fazal Mehmood. Enjoy talking about the great game with the great players. You didn’t deserve to be dragged in the cesspool of politics and corruption that is the Pakistani cricket. We hope that your untimely departure from this world will make a few higher ups in PCB shake with embarrassment. Ah! What silly bunch of hopefuls we are.

Bon Voyage my friend. May all your cover drives be effortless and all you straight drives pure.”

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