taken from: The corridor of Uncertainty
YOUNUS KHAN - THE WORST WEEKEND OF MY LIFE
YOUNUS KHAN By JMB - March 20 2007
Yorkshire's new overseas signing Younus Khan has spoken of his heartbreak over the death of Bob Woolmer. Writing on his website (bigstarcricket.com), Younus describes the last few days as the worst weekend of his life with the defeat to Ireland, Inzamam's resignation and Bob Woolmer's sudden death.
The Corridor of Uncertainty sends a message of sorrow and support to Younus Khan. Over the last few days on our website's message board there have been many people expressing their sadness at the loss of Bob Woolmer, who was universally liked and respected. Our thoughts are with you Younus.
Younus found out about Woolmer's illness when he was called by someone from the Pakistan team who said: "Have you heard about Bob?" At that stage Woolmer was being rushed to hospital where he died two hours later of a suspected heart attack.
Younus writes: "It was shocking for me. It’s very bad, he loved his cricket, we had many chats about his life, my life and about our families. He always spoke of cricket, it was his life. If you dinner with him, travel with him you always find yourself talking about cricket and our experiences. Those conversations were always very enjoyable. We spent a lot of time together."
When Bob Woolmer became coach of the Pakistan national side Younus was not a regular in the team. He recalls: "I still remember the first time he arrived. He came off the plane and went straight to the National Cricket Academy, where me and a couple of others were taking voluntary nets. He introduced himself immediately. The next day he spoke to the whole squad and I still remember the things he said to me. He said, “You are a very strong character and a good team man, just keep doing what you’re doing. That’s enough for me.” He had obviously done his homework on us."
Woolmer has been a huge influence on Younus, whose career took off under his charge. "Not long after, I scored a century in the Asia Cup and then another century in a Test match against Sri Lanka. I became more of a regular in the team and Bob, along with Shahriyar Khan, made me vice-captain after the Australia tour."
Younus, who is no stranger to personal tragedy after losing two brothers in recent years and his father in 2005 looked upon Woolmer as a father figure. "He was a friend and a coach. He called me ‘Old man’ and I called him ‘Young man’. In fact, as a bit of fun, I called his wife Gill ‘Mum’. Bob called me ‘Little Hansie’ because Hansie Cronje was also close to Bob. He is only the second person after Richard Pybus that I shared my ideas on cricket with and my life experiences."
"I have kept the posters on batting and motivation from Bob’s lectures in Trinidad during the World Cup warm-up matches. I will treasure them and also a shirt I have with his name on that he signed. I will miss him very much as a coach and as a person."
Younus also expressed his disappointment at Pakistan's failure in the World Cup: "Every Pakistani wanted us to do well at this World Cup and we are very sorry we let them down. After we beat West Indies at home everybody expected us to win that match and we should have won it. The Ireland [game] was the worse day of my cricketing life. I have had other bad days like during last year’s Champions Trophy with no Inzy, no Shoaib, no Asif, but this day was much worse. Inzamam’s resignation was another low point in a very difficult weekend. He did a great job for his country and his team for the last 17 years."