Today, Jamaican local press pre-empted official police reports by announcing to the world that Bob Woolmer had been strangled. The shocking headlines that had followed days of wild speculation were confirmed late today by local police
According to Mark Shields, Jamaica's deputy commissioner of police, the police have no suspects at this time. Prior to the official statement by the Jamaican police, there has been speculation that Woolmer was killed by an angry fan or by Pakistani bookies
who wanted to keep Woolmer from making revelations about match fixing in Pakistan in an upcoming book. Regardless of whoever killed Bob Woolmer, this murder revelation has cast a horrible shadow over the remainder of this World Cup. The game of love and unity suddenly doesn't feel so important anymore.
Despite opinions that the World Cup should not continue in the wake of Woolmer's murder, ICC Chief Executive Officer, Malcolm Speed today confirmed at the press conference that the World Cup would go on. Chris Dehring, the CEO of World Cup 2007 also expressed confidence in the security arrangements in place for the rest of the World Cup. That claim must ring a little hollow.
That Woolmer was murdered for cricket related reasons is the obvious motive right now. There are no reports of items missing from his hotel room. There are no signs of forced entry. Woolmer either let his murderer into his 12th floor room at the Jamaica Pegasus or he left the door ajar. It would be an incredible coincidence if Woolmer happened to have been murdered immediately after one of Pakistan's most dismal days on the cricket pitch for an unrelated reason. The fact that there were no signs of forced entry will undoubtedly fuel speculation that the murder may have been committed by a person or persons familiar to Woolmer. The Jamaican police are seemingly convinced that members of the Pakistani entourage have information that can aid their investigation. Here is an extract from Jamaican Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas'
statement:"It is our belief that those associated with or having access to Mr Woolmer may have vital information that would assist this inquiry. We appeal to these individuals to come forward now to assist us with our investigation."
There has long been a seedy under belly to international cricket. Rumours of match fixing abound in the subcontinent. In fact three former captains, Mohammad Azharuddin of India, Hansie Cronje of South Africa and Salim Malik of Pakistan have all received life bans for match-fixing. In the subcontinent, effigies are burnt, houses and people attacked whenever the subcontinent teams do badly as evidenced when Pakistan and India were upset at this World Cup. The game of cricket has very much lost its soul
, and Woolmer's murder is now the latest and most stunning incarnation of this fact.
(Cross posted from Rain, No Play
Labels: 2007 world cup, bob woolmer, match fixing, world cup