Asif pays glowing tribute to late Pak coach and “father figure” Bob Woolmer

March 21st, 2011 - 12:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad, Mar 21(ANI): Tainted Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif has paid glowing tributes to former coach Bob Woolmer on his fourth death anniversary, and said that the former England batsman was “like a father figure” to him.

The 28-year-old fondly recalled Woolmer complimenting him after watching him bowl in just one first class match.

“Bob watched me just once in domestic cricket, and said to me that he rated me very highly and that I would be bowling for Pakistan under his tutorship,” quoted Asif, as saying.

“He (Woolmer) said that he thought of me as a good bowler and that he would help me become one of the world’s best bowlers. He stated to me that he felt that I had all the basics to be a great bowler, and that we could work together and make that happen,” he added.

Asif, who has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports against his seven-year ban imposed by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal and is awaiting confirmation of the hearing date, said that working with an esteemed coach like Woolmer was an ‘absolute honour’.

“Working with Bob was an absolute honour for me. To be taught and coached the finer arts of cricket by such a fantastic person and coach was something that I will always cherish and I would just like to pay my personal tribute to Bob Woolmer,” he said.

“I had a lot of respect for Bob as a person and as a professional, and I believe that he did a fantastic job for Pakistan cricket and took it to unforeseen levels during his time as coach. He was a great man - humble and approachable. He was always available for advice and help,” he added.

Asif was one of those players who enjoyed Woolmer’s company, and he feels that he improved as a cricketer under his coaching.

“There are so many fond memories of Bob that will always stay with me, but one thing that I will always appreciate is that Bob never put cricket before religion when we prayed. He respected the players during prayer time and realised the importance of religion to many of the players,” he said.

“Bob’s biggest strength though was his ability to get the best out of each of the players. He knew almost instantaneously what individual player’s attitudes were and knew how to get the best out of us and was like a father figure to me and many of my team mates,” he added. (ANI)

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