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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 10:08 GMT

Woolmer defends underdogs
Bob Woolmer
Woolmer was formerly coach of the South African team
Bob Woolmer has defended the right of the game's lesser nations to take part in the World Cup in the wake of Canada's record thrashing by Sri Lanka.

They were bowled out for just 36, the lowest ever score in a one-day international, and Sri Lanka knocked off the runs in less than five overs.

Woolmer was employed by the International Cricket Council as a high performance coach to help Canada, Namibia, Holland and Kenya prepare for the tournament.

And he insisted that Namibia's performance against England, a 55-run defeat notwithstanding, offered clear evidence of their potential.

"If you went to the ground today and didn't know who was playing you'd have said there was a good game of cricket going on.

"This was the first time they'd batted with real authority - that's the biggest difference between the junior or associate nations and the Test sides," Woolmer commented.

The high performance unit will continue after the World Cup
Bob Woolmer

Canada had their moment of glory in the first week of the tournament when they pulled off a 60-run win over Bangladesh, and Woolmer said their defeat by Sri Lanka was part of the learning curve.

"Canada have done well. I'm not surprised they got rolled over because that's what going to happen to these teams from time to time," he added.

Woolmer's work will continue after the World Cup with the ICC looking to help all four countries continue to develop.

"Some of the plans are still on the drawing board but we hope to have them playing three-day matches and get A (team) tours by the major nations to these countries.

"We've also got plans for an inter-continental cup where teams from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas will play other teams from their regions before going into a knockout event against one another."

Links to more World Cup stories


Woolmer's way earns respect
05 Jul 02 |  Warwickshire
Woolmer handed ICC role
27 Sep 01 |  Cricket

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