Life is strange. A day after what was perhaps Pakistan's worst performance in our entire cricket history, Bob Woolmer, our coach, passed away
, due to what might have been a heart attack at round about 4 PM Pakistani time, after being found unconscious in his hotel room earlier in the day. Around the same time I was writing a detailed post
on my own blog about both his achievements and short comings as the coach of Pakistan. A few hours later, as the news of his death broke, a deep sense of sorrow and reflection on whether I was perhaps a bit too judgmental and a bit too hasty in my reactions, ensued within me, and can now be seen across the Pakistani and indeed global blogosphere, as more people react to the sad news.
I think it’s important to understand that the over reaction from some people aside, the majority of Pakistan’s fan had nothing personal against the man. In any professional field, when you do a job and the stakes are high, and your results aren’t good, there is some criticism. And Bob him self was a very broad-minded man when it came to taking criticism, I remember that in the early part of his coaching stint he replied to each and every single email he received from countless Pakistani fans flocking at his website, responding to everything, from praise, to criticism to just suggestions.
Of course he couldn’t keep up this regime as the number of emails and his own work assignments kept growing and growing, but it showed, that initial phase, of how eager and keen he was about his assignment with the Pakistan team. Through out his stint he spoke of his time with Pakistan as an ongoing challenge, off late, especially since August last year, he had increasingly spoken of the mental strains of the job, admitting that he’d considered resigning at one point after the Oval fiasco, and saying as late as yesterday, in the immediate aftermath of our loss against Ireland, that things “take toll on you”.
May be Bob was just tired, or may be couldn’t bear the result yesterday, it’s very tough, and unfair even, to speculate now, but either way, his sudden death, certainly puts things in perspective. Sport is after all, just sport, and nothing is bigger then life it self. Perhaps we over rate winning and losing, and the joy and sorrow we derive from each. Bob Woolmer may not have achieved all that Pakistani fans would have hoped he would achieve for Pakistan Cricket, but we, and I really hope I am speaking on behalf of all of fans of the game here in this country, do have a lot of respect for you Bob, as a human being, if nothing, for the mere fact that you put up with us, and our judgmental analysis of you for three years, we’re so sorry; may your soul rest in peace.