Cricket fans the world over, today mourned the passing of a truly world-class cricketer, batsman Bob Woolmer.
'Slowcoach', as he was known, was born in India, played for Kent and England, coached South Africa and Pakistan, and died in the West Indies yesterday after his team were knocked out of the World Cup by cricketing giants, Ireland.
He was an international sportsman, if ever there was one.
Woolmer was best remembered for his long, defensive stints at the wicket in the 1970s, when opposition teams found him almost impossible to dismiss. He attended the Geoff Boycott Cricketing School of Straight-Batted Excellence before becoming an international in 1975.
He immediately hit the headlines with his match-saving 149 against Australia, but bettered even that performance two years later against the West Indies at Headingley. In that match, he occupied the crease for more than four days, scoring only 12 runs, including two streaky boundaries through the slips. When the match was interrupted by a torrential downpour on the Friday, Woolmer refused to leave the crease, and remained out in the middle, in the driving rain, all night until play resumed the next day.
Geoff Boycott, who was present that day, said:
"Aye, he were a right lad, he were, that Slowcoach!"
Police are investigating his tragic death, but although Pakistan are used to foul play - ball-tampering being a speciality of theirs - it is not suspected in this case.
"Rather," said Chief Superintendent Chaka Demus, "he seems to have been cricketed to death. I really loved Bob Woolmer."