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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Woolmer's way earns respect
Bob Woolmer directs practice
Woolmer is one of the most respected coaches around

Bob Woolmer's long association with Warwickshire looks like finally coming to an end and with it the end of his team coaching career seems nigh.

Although Woolmer wishes to continue as a one-on-one coach and will assist in the preparation of developing nations such as Namibia for now at least, full-time coaching will be put to one side.

Whatever he decides to do next Woolmer's reputation as one of the most respected coaches of the modern era is assured.

Professional approach

Whether with Warwickshire or South Africa, Woolmer has gathered admirers among players and administrators alike for his thorough approach and commitment to excellence.

As a player, Woolmer managed through sheer perseverance to play Test cricket for England, but showed his pragmatic side by joining the Packer circus in 1977.

He also was part of the England rebel tour to South Africa in 1982 an episode which brought his Test career to a close although he carried on in first-class cricket for Kent until 1984.

Bob Woolmer driving for England
Woolmer played in 19 Tests for England

Woolmer's career as a coach on the big stage effectively began with his appointment by Warwickshire in 1990.

A haul of four trophies, including an unprecendented treble in 1994, saw Woolmer earn the chance to coach South Africa, only two years on from their re-admittance to international cricket.

Woolmer transformed the South Africans, bringing on a crop of talented young players and gelling them into one of the best side's in the world, particularly in one-day cricket.

Throughout this period, Allan Donald often featured in Woolmer's sides both at Warwickshire and South Africa, and the paceman gives a lot of credit for his success

"He was my mentor," Donald says.

"He was fantastic with me and understood the mechanics of my bowling."

"If I ever needed someone to have a look at the way I was bowling he was always there."

Big impact

Warwickshire and England spinner Ashley Giles is also as convinced about the impact Woolmer has had on his career.

"I do owe him a lot," Giles admits.

"He was very important earlier in my career when I went over to Cape Town during the winters and worked with him."

"He was also a huge help with me when I got back into the England side in 2000."

Both players point to Woolmer's professionalism as the key factor that has brought him so much success.

"He's a fantastic technical coach and his constant ideas and innovation have really helped Warwickshire over the last decade," Giles comments.

Bob Woolmer carrying practice equipment
Woolmer has constantly sought to innovate

"He pays a great attention to detail and rarely misses anything especially about the opposition," says Donald.

"We used to call him the gadget man he had so much equipment!"

Never a bawler or a tyrant, Woolmer was the coach for whom the quiet word was more important.

"Bob's a very good talker, he helps you understand things by cutting them down so that you can take things simply one at a time without getting overwhelmed," Giles reveals.

"More than that he's a great man with a good heart who wants everyone to do well."

Good communicator

Former Nottinghamshire coach Clive Rice concurs,

"He had a good group of players with South Africa but he got them to gel together," Rice says.

"Where he's done well is getting his message across to the players, getting both bowlers and batters to see what's required."

As for where Woolmer rates, Donald can't think of any much better.

"From a South African point of view, he's the best I've ever worked with."

"I think he's up there with guys like Bobby Simpson and Duncan Fletcher."

Giles is in no doubt that Warwickshire will do well to replace him with someone of equal stature.

"It's a big gap for us although I'm sure all the players will welcome any new coach and get on with things. He's a big personality to replace."

See also:

05 Jul 02 | Warwickshire
22 Jun 02 | Photo Galleries
25 Sep 02 | Cricket
27 Sep 01 | Cricket
Links to more Warwickshire stories are at the foot of the page.


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