‘Time to move on after Woolmer nightmare’

Thursday, June 14, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket chief said on Wednesday it was time for the national team to move on after Jamaican police revealed that coach Bob Woolmer was not murdered after all, but died of natural causes.

Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said he was glad to see the end of a “traumatic” three months that began when Woolmer’s body was found in his hotel during the World Cup in the Caribbean.

“The chapter of Woolmer’s death is closed and we feel it’s time to move on,”
Ashraf told in his first comments since the announcement by Jamaican police late on Tuesday.

Cricket legend-turned-politician Imran Khan and some current players have called for the PCB to sue the Caribbean investigators because of the way the Pakistani team and the country were cast in a bad light by the affair.

But Ashraf appeared to rule out taking any legal action.
“I have given you Pakistan’s stance and I don’t want to comment on what individuals say,”
Ashraf said when asked if the PCB would take the Jamaican police to court.

The cricket board chairman said the case was made more difficult by “hurtful” speculation in the media, which threw allegations about gambling, poisoned champagne and even Al-Qaeda into the mix.

“There was a lot of unhealthy speculation about the cause of his death over the last few months, none of which eased the pressure,”
said Ashraf.

“We fully co-operated with the authorities so that the truth comes out in the case, (we) sent our diplomats and investigators to help them and we are now glad that the true findings have come out,”
he expressed.

The PCB head said that Pakistan would name the training facilities at its national cricket academy after Woolmer to honour his memory.

“Woolmer was literally a family member to us and we will always remember his services to Pakistan cricket,”
said Ashraf.

“I personally went to Cape Town to his funeral and consoled with his widow Gill and will continue to remember Woolmer as a great friend of Pakistan cricket,”
he added.

Looking to the future, Ashraf said Pakistan was rebuilding its side, which has also been hit by a series of crises over the past year including the Oval Test fiasco and a doping scandal.

Shoaib Malik has replaced Inzamam as captain to give the team a fresh start. The PCB is also nearing the end of an international hunt for a new coach.

Former Pakistan captain and coach Intikhab Alam said Pakistan should seek an apology from the Jamaican police but added that it was “too late” for any legal action. He said Pakistan also had to learn from the debacle.

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Will Pakistan Premier League gain success just like Indian Premier League ?