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One of the characteristics of Woolmer's reign as Pakistan Coach is how, despite the losses the team has suffered under him, the Pakistan Cricket Board has somehow so far resisted the temptation to take the horses for courses reactions it is famous of taking. Time now though, appears to be running out.

This was a liberty other Pakistan coaches, particularly those coming from within the country, did not enjoy. Woolmer's own predecessor and one of his most vehement critics, Javed Miandad himself, for instance, was sacked immediately after the team lost both the one-day and test series against India in their breakthrough tour to Pakistan in 2004.

When Woolmer first came in, there was some amount of skepticism in the Pakistani press and amongst ex players about the possible effects he would have, but Pakistan fans, generally, it seemed back then, at least from some of the scores of emails that come to his website, were willing to give him a chance before writing him off. It was a very promising start.

As time has passed on though, people's patience has been running out fast. The 'foreigner', 'over-paid', 'lap-top coach' tag is now brought out more than ever, and it seems inevitable that following the World Cup, the PCB may not renew his contract.

Barring one or two things, like Woolmer's fondness for all-rounders that aren't quite up to it, and his and Inzi's 'safety first' approach, I have a lot of respect for Woolmer as a coach, and often, I can't help but feel sympathy for him for how he's been treated by our ex-players and sections of the national press.

Effigies are burned, protests done whenever we lose, pretty much every thing is blamed on the coach, what should be confidential details of his contract and earnings are lashed out on and commented by all and sundry. Yet when we win, hardly ever do you see any credit coming his way.

Consider this report for instance, it documents information from Talat Ali's managerial report on the ill-fated tour of South Africa, which confirms the altercation between Woolmer and Shoaib on Day two of the 2nd test, but denies Woolmer having racially abused Shoaib Akhtar.

Woolmer's own tour report, the report says, has also discussed the Shoaib incident in depth and categorically denied he abused Shoaib Akhtar in a racial way. The newspapers' own sources have also added that Saleem Altaf, director cricket operations of the PCB, had a verbal confrontation with Woolmer during one of the team meetings, where he reportedly told Woolmer that he "had worked no wonders for the team".

The same source has also speculated that Naseem Ashraf has denied a request by Woolmer to install the Hawk Eye software package for the team, despite Woolmer having presented an extensive presentation on it highlighting the possible benefits it could bring to the team. The reason it says, was that, the CEO, was unhappy the coach didn't make a case for it earlier and also since it was costing around £30,000 per year.

Without wanting to comment on the specifics, it is getting more and more obvious since Waqar Younus was sacked from his position of bowling coach, and Grant Compton, the trainer for the PCB academy and national side, resigned, that the board's relationship with Woolmer too is now deteriorating and if we don't do well in the World Cup, neither the PCB nor Woolmer himself might want to continue the partnership any further.

Different people have different takes on what Woolmer has brought to Pakistan Cricket, some people simply refuse to seeing anything beyond his salary and technology oriented methods, always pointing out the fact that he isn't Pakistani, but such criticism often reflects underlying prejudices in some of Pakistan's ex-test greats, and I try and distance myself from sounding like them.

For me personally, if Woolmer goes after the World Cup, and we haven't, God forbid, done that well in it either, the biggest disappointment will not be that individual performances of the team or separate sections of the side - such as the opening or the fielding - did not show as much improvement as one would have hoped, but the fact that over all, Pakistan Cricket and Woolmer himself, and both collectively did not benefit from each other as much as they could have.

Talent never has been an issue in Pakistan Cricket, but it is the professionalism that has always eluded us. When we hired Woolmer I had a handful of expectations in this regard from both Woolmer himself, the PCB board that hired him, and our own fans and press that would constantly judge him over time.

For Woolmer, I hoped that he would be able to bring here in Pakistan some if not all of that ruthlessness and professionalism that were the hallmark of his previous highly successful coaching stints with Worcestershire County Cricket Club and South Africa.

For the PCB, I hoped that they'd give Woolmer the time and resources he'd need for this monumental task, and for ourselves, the on-lookers and followers of the game in this country, I hoped, that we would learn not to judge Woolmer on his nationality or salary but on what he brought to cricket in this country.

Alas, it seems all three of us have failed at our own individual levels, and the biggest loser of course, has sadly been, Pakistan Cricket itself.
 

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