Bob Woolmer : biography

14 May 1948 - 18 March 2007

Awards and honours

  • One of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1976
  • Posthumously honoured with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), a high ranking civil award of Pakistan, for his contribution to Pakistan cricket
  • Cricket academy named after Bob Woolmer in Lahore "Bob Woolmer National Indoor Cricket Academy Lahore"

Death during 2007 World Cup

On 18 March 2007, Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. The initial report was that Woolmer had died of a heart attack. On 22 March, Jamaican police confirmed that a murder investigation had been launched due to the circumstances of Woolmer's death, based on a report by pathologist Ere Seshaiah that Woolmer had died of asphyxia via manual strangulation. Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields led the investigation. Police suspected that the murderer might have been a Pakistani upset over Pakistan's recent defeat by Ireland in the World Cup.

On 12 June 2007, Lucius Thomas, the commissioner of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, announced that the investigation had concluded that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes, and was not murdered as indicated by the earlier pathologist's report. Three independent pathologists' reports commissioned by the police had found that the initial conclusion of manual strangulation was incorrect, and toxicology tests found no evidence of poisoning. The findings of the pathologists, and of Metropolitan Police detectives who had visited Jamaica to assist with the investigation, were reported in the weeks leading up to the announcement, which was widely expected by the time it was made. Reports suggested that Woolmer suffered from health problems including an enlarged heart and diabetes, which may have contributed to his death.

On 6 November, coroner Patrick Murphy asked for further tests to be carried out on samples taken from Woolmer's body following discrepancies in the toxicology reports by forensic scientists from the Caribbean and the UK. ESPN cricinfo, 6 November 2007

After hearing twenty-six days of evidence, the jury at the inquest returned an open verdict, refusing to rule out the controversial strangulation theory put forward by Ere Seshaiah. AFP, 28 November 2007

In an interview with Fox News, former South African cricketer Clive Rice claimed that Woolmer was murdered by organised crime groups, saying “These mafia betting syndicates do not stop at anything and they do not care who gets in their way.”

Early life

Woolmer was born in the hospital across the road from the cricket ground in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, in India. His father was the cricketer Clarence Woolmer, who represented United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) in the Ranji Trophy. At the age of 10, Woolmer witnessed Hanif Mohammad scoring 499, and thereby setting a world record for the highest score in first-class cricket. Some 35 years later, Woolmer, as coach of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, would be watching when the county's batsman Brian Lara passed that mark, setting a new record of 501 not out.

Woolmer went to school in Kent, first at Yardley Court in Tonbridge and then The Skinners' School in Tunbridge Wells. When he was 15, Colin Page, the coach and captain of the Kent second XI, converted him from an off-spinner to a medium pace bowler.

Woolmer's first job was as a sales representative for ICI, and his first senior cricket was with the Tunbridge Wells club and with Kent's second XI. In 1967 he broke the Kentish Leagues' Bat and Trap record for most consecutive strikes between the white posts – 13 in one game.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine