Karachi:Former Pakistan cricketers on Thursday paid tribute to coach Bob Woolmer, whose tragic death during the ODI World Cup in the West Indies exactly three years ago had left everybody stunned.
Woolmer died on March 18 just a few hours after Pakistan's shocking defeat at the hands of minnows Ireland and elimination from the mega-event.
"What happened was tragic. Bob's death came as a big shock for all of us even before we could recover from the defeat to Ireland," former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed said.
Initially the Jamaican police had said they were probing a murder case but after three months they announced that the former England cricketer had died of natural causes.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, who was the Pakistan captain in the World Cup and worked closely with Woolmer, said that the period spent in Jamaica after Woolmer's death was the worst of his life.
"We were treated like murder suspects and all sorts of accusations were made without anyone realising how close the players were to Woolmer," Inzamam said.
"We worked as a team with Woolmer and there is no doubt that he was one of the best coaches I have seen in my career," he added.
Danish Kaneria, who was a member of the World Cup squad, said that there was no doubt that Woolmer's "shocking" death left the players shattered.
"He took it (the defeat) hard but we never expected it to end in his death. It was shocking for all of us," Kaneria said.
He said Woolmer meant a lot to Pakistan cricket and this could be seen in the way as the Pakistan Cricket Board had also named a section of the national academy after him.
The Pakistan board also issued a tribute on the occasion of Woolmer's third death anniversary pointing out he had done a lot for Pakistan cricket.
"On the occasion of the third death anniversary of Bob Woolmer (March 18, 2010) PCB wishes to pay tribute to a man who did so much for Pakistan cricket. Woolmer's progressive coaching methods made a huge impact on the game of cricket.
"Woolmer was a distinguished cricketer and a coach whose contributions to the game and especially Pakistan cricket will never be forgotten. More importantly Woolmer was an excellent human being, who enriched the lives of all those that he came in contact with," a PCB statement said on Thursday.
"He is and will always be missed. The entire Pakistan cricket community's thoughts and prayers are with the Woolmer family," it said.
After Woolmer, the board hired another foreign coach, Australian Geoff Lawson in 2007 but he never got the same position or respect that was accorded to Woolmer, who also coached the South Africa for five years.