M A I N   N E W S

Woolmer dies hours after Pak exit

Kingston, March 18
Pakistan’s cricket coach Bob Woolmer suddenly died in mysterious circumstances today, hours after Pakistan’s shocking elimination from the World Cup after the defeat at the hands of Ireland.

Fifty-eight-year old heavy built former England player, who has been the coach of the unpredictable and mercurial Pakistan team for about three years, was found unconscious in his hotel room and was rushed to a hospital.

According to Pakistan team media manager Pervez Mir, Woolmer was pronounced dead on arrival at the University Hospital, a news that caused a shock in the cricket world and cast a gloom over the World Cup.

“I have to say with great sadness that Woolmer has died. The doctors in the ICU have pronounced him dead,” Mir said.

He said Woolmer was rushed to hospital this morning after being found unconsciousness in his hotel room with signs of vomiting.

“He was in critical condition. We have informed his wife and family in South Africa,” another Pakistan team official said.

Pakistan tumbled out of the World Cup on Saturday after a shocking defeat to Ireland. The post-match press conference after Pakistan’s three-wicket loss to Ireland on Saturday was the last time Woolmer was seen in public. The team got concerned when he didn’t come out of his room this morning.

Woolmer’s comments about the stress of being an international coach yesterday now have en eerie ring to them. “It takes a toll on you. You are away from the family, always travelling and living out of the suitcase,” he had said.

Woolmer took over as Pakistan’s coach from Javed Miandad after the team suffered its first ever home loss to arch-rivals India in early 2004. — Agencies

‘I can’t believe the news’

Shoaib AkhtarShoaib Akhtar, who had many run-ins with Bob Woolmer in recent years, tonight expressed utter shock at his death and denied that his relationship with the coach was strained.

Shoaib was at pains to show that he shared a good relationship with the Englishman although the two are known to have had strained ties. “I can’t believe the news. We shared great moments together,” Shoaib said.

Asked about his run-ins with Woolmer, Shoaib said: “When you are in a team, you bound to have arguments but we got on well.”

Shoaib admitted that recent he had had a “small argument” with the coach but denied that Woolmer had ever made any racial remarks against him. — PTI

Pervez Musharraf: His death is a great loss to the cricketing fraternity as he was undoubtedly a top coach. His death has come as a big shock to everyone.

Rameez Raja, former Pakistan captain: I just can’t comprehend this development, Because he was a strong character and able to take criticism that came by way of being the Pakistan coach. He was very sincere towards Pak cricket.

Andrew Walpole, England team spokesman: “Our thoughts are with Bob’s family. This has come as a huge shock to all of the England team. He was a figure who commanded great respect within world cricket and he will be sorely missed.”



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