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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 16:15 GMT
Coach Woolmer cagey over future
Bob Woolmer
Woolmer took over as Pakistan coach in 2004
Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer has told the BBC he will not make any decision on his future until after the World Cup, but will "leave all the doors open."

Woolmer, who has been suggested as a possible replacement for the current England coach Duncan Fletcher, will see his three-year contract with Pakistan run out after the tournament in the West Indies.

He told BBC World Service's The Interview programme that much would depend on how well Pakistan performed, but that he would not "shut doors anywhere."

He said: "If other doors open, I shall certainly go and have a look through the door.

"I don't want to make hints about anything - I just love cricket, and I like being involved. I want to see how I feel at the end of the World Cup.

"I'd like to take it one day at a time. I like to coach any side, but after the World Cup I don't know. For the first time in my life, instead of making a decision three or four months in advance as to what I'm going to do next time, I'm going to leave all the doors open."

Challenge

Woolmer, who was born in India but raised in England and who previously coached South Africa, nearly resigned as Pakistan coach last year in the wake of the controversial fourth Test against England at Lords.

The Pakistan team initially refused to return to the field of play after umpire Darrell Hair changed a ball which he suspected Pakistan players had tampered with. The umpires deemed the match had been forfeited - the first time this had happened in Test history.

Mohammad Yousuf
Yousuf's settled into believing that Allah is all-powerful, the one, and that he's going to help Mohammad Yousuf
Bob Woolmer
"I wasn't sure how I had managed to get myself into this mess, quite frankly," Woolmer said.

"I am coach of the Pakistan team - I call it 'my team'. It was a question of 'I don't need this sort of rubbish in my life,' and I just felt, 'what do I do'?

"But it was a temporary thing. I felt for a minute - 'I can't stand this, I'll get out of it'."

But he said he changed his mind soon after, and he remains convinced that coaching Pakistan is "the most wonderful challenge that I've ever had.

"You learn so much about yourself, and you learn so much about people, and about life in general," he added.

Woolmer also addressed claims that religion has too high a prominence in the Pakistan team, and suggestion that some players have been pressured into the "Islamicisation" of the Pakistan team.

"I'd use one word for that - rubbish," he said. "I'm absolutely certain that's not true."

He mentioned in particular that batsman Mohammad Yousuf had suffered "massive torment" after converting to Islam from Christianity, with his parents telling him to "get out of the family."

But Woolmer said that his new religion had helped Yousuf - currently ranked second in the Test batting rankings, behind Australian Ricky Ponting - improve as a player.

"He's settled into believing that Allah is all-powerful, the one, and that he's going to help Mohammad Yousuf," Woolmer said.

"What it's done is make him concentrate and focus on what he does, on his life."




SEE ALSO
Yousuf 'proud' after record year
30 Nov 06 |  Pakistan
Woolmer retains positive outlook
28 Oct 06 |  Pakistan

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