Robert Andrew Woolmer

Robert Andrew Woolmer

BatRight-handBowlRight-arm medium
Born-National Team Eligibility-
Years of Service1968-1984DebutKent 1968, Natal 1973, Western Province 1980, MCC 1973, England 1975.
Local Club-Shirt Sponsor-

Other Teams

Rest of England, TN Pearce's XI, DH Robins' XI, South African Breweries English XI, Western Province, Natal, MCC and England.

Player Biography

Bob Woolmer belongs to a select band of Test cricketers who enjoyed success as international coaches when their playing days were over. Indeed Woolmer might be said to be the first to make a bigger impact as a coach, in four years with South Africa, than as a player. For whatever reason, and it might simply have been that his array of gloriously timed off-side strokes made him look a better batsman than he was, he had a disappointing Test career – especially for a man who, in only his second Test, saved England as they followed on against Australia by holding out for 499 minutes against Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson to score 149. Although he added two more hundreds, also against Australia, he first interrupted his Test career by signing for World Series Cricket in 1977, then ended it forever by joining the rebel South African tour of 1981-82. As a coach, his pioneering use of computers to show, for example, where opposing batsmen scored their runs may have stemmed from an experience of his own, batting against Mike Brearley’s Middlesex. “Knowing I liked the cover-drive, he had Mike Selvey bowling at me wide of off stump, with two slips and two gulleys. In 45 minutes, I scored 12. Then I chased another wide one from Selvey and was caught at second slip.” In the 1996 World Cup, Graeme Hick was a notable victim of Woolmer’s computer-based analysis, which revealed that if Hick could be kept scoreless for a spell, he tended to flick an off-stump ball in the air to midwicket. The trap was sprung by Fanie de Villiers, and Brian McMillan took the catch. Woolmer was creative and adventurous. But his coaching was based on a simple premise: the more enjoyable he could make the game, the better his players would respond. No two fielding-practices were alike when Woolmer was in charge. After a spell as the ICC’s high-performance manager, he was announced as Pakistan’s new coach in June 2004, and signed a contract to remain in charge until the 2007 World Cup.