Friday, 23 March 2007

The Woolmer Whodunit

So it was not soaring BP, high blood sugar, depression, suicide or even a heart attack. Jamaican Police finally announced that Bob Woolmer was murdered, strangled to death to be precise.

Death invokes that inevitable grief but murder invites a whole array of emotions and the cricketing world is numbed in shock to know that an evil hand, allegedly of a sub-continent betting mafia, reached right upto Woolmer’s throat to throttle him in his hotel room.

Sarfraz Nawaz, that stormy petrel of Pakistani cricket, must be chuckling on the other side of the Line of Control and why not? When Jamaican Police and its industrious deputy commissioner Mark Shields were trying to convince themselves that it was a ‘suspicious’ case and not a murder one, it was the Pakistani former pacer who saw a betting syndicate behind the murder.

The problem with Sarfraz has been that he sees a potential match-fixer even in the pariah dog that crosses his road in Lahore and it’s hardly a surprise that he is not taken seriously.

Sarfraz claimed Woolmer was about to spill the beans about a betting syndicate in a book which was soon to hit the stand and that cost him his life. And now with Jamaican Police confirming in a statement that the “death was due to asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation”,

But even that theory looks flawed with co-authors and family members saying that the manuscript of 'Discovering Cricket: The Art and Science of the Game' did not even touch on match-fixing.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed asserted despite the disturbing developments, the show must go on and the Lord Paul Congdon-led Anti-Corruption Unit would probe if corruption played any role in the murder.

Toxicologist, histologist, Scotland Yard, ICC top brass, Paul Congdon, ACU – and this was supposed to be a cricket World Cup!

Photo Credit:
Garfield Robinson/Jamaican Observer

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