A shocking start

IT’S been a dramatic start to cricket’s World Cup. And that’s saying the least. Who in their right mind would have expected debutants Ireland to send Pakistan, former champions and one of the super-powers of the sport, out of the tournament after two matches.

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Published: Tue 20 Mar 2007, 8:44 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:58 AM

Not even in their wildest dreams would the Irish have envisioned a win over the 1992 champions. The same holds true for Pakistan. Never ever did they feel that they would be defeated by a team whose players are almost unknown in their own land, leave alone the rest of the world. On the very same day India, also former champions and another top gun, were made to eat humble pie by their neighbours Bangladesh, the perennial whipping boys of the game.

While the lovable Irish and Bangladeshis partied into the wee hours, there were near riots in India and Pakistan. Indian keeper Mahender Singh Dhoni’s house under construction in Ranchi was smashed up by disgruntled fans. The Indian state of Karnataka posted armed policemen outside the house of skipper Rahul Dravid to ensure nothing like the Ranchi incident happened in Bangalore. Strange is the way Asian fans treat their national treasures. When they win they are heroes, when they lose they are treated with illogical disrespect.

The actual shocker of the seven-day-old tournament was the passing away of Pakistan’s unflappable coach Bob Woolmer. Found unconscious in his hotel bedroom the 58-year-old Englishman died in hospital. National outrage over the team’s debacle turned into mourning in Pakistan. The most stressful jobs in Pakistan is being captain of the national team and the man who leads them as coach. Stress and, probably, the shock of losing to Ireland finally proved a bit too much for Woolmer’s big heart. Hailed as an innovator Robert Andrew Woolmer has left behind a rich legacy, a widow and two sons.

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