|Player:||RA Woolmer, AA Donald, Inzamam-ul-Haq|
DateLine: 24th January 2007
Bob Woolmer said on Tuesday that Pakistan's success in the World Cup is the only thing on his mind despite reports linking the South Asian team's coach to the England job. The 58-year-old said he wanted to leave "all doors open" after the March-April tournament and is one of the top contenders to succeed Duncan Fletcher, who was criticised after England's 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia. However Woolmer, a former England batsman told AFP in an email from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where Pakistan won the second Test on Monday, that he was still committed to his current job. "I am only going to make a decision after the World Cup and how to guide Pakistan to World Cup success is the only thing I think about these days," Woolmer said. Woolmer, who played 19 Tests for England in 1970s, said he had several options available after his contract with Pakistan expires two months after the World Cup. "I am not committing myself into anything before. There is always speculation regarding these matters and I would like to leave all doors open, but currently the World Cup is the priority," said Woolmer, who also coached South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Woolmer, who was approached prior to Fletcher's appointment by the ECB eight years ago, said in an interview with a British newspaper published on Monday that he would be "open to offers" after the tournament. "I would be foolish not to be. I have always been proud of playing for England and just missed out on coaching them (in the past) because the timing was not right," he told the Times. Woolmer will have been Pakistan coach for three years in June, having previously spent five years as coach of South Africa after making his name in England with Warwickshire. South Africa legend Allan Donald backed Woolmer for the England job on Monday. "I can't think of a more experienced coach to take over the job if it was to come along," Donald, a former Warwickshire and South Africa fast bowler, told the BBC. Woolmer coached South Africa in the 1996 and 1999 World Cup. Despite being favourites South Africa bowed out in the quarter-finals in 1996 and in the semi-finals three years later. Woolmer also served as the International Cricket Council's High Performance Manager for several years before taking over as Pakistan coach in July 2004. He has since led the talented but often fractious team to a series of good results including the five-wicket second Test win in South Africa, which skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq hailed as the best of his captaincy career.