Friday, March 23, 2007

Murder In Kingston

Last night's news conference from Jamaica at which police announced Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was murdered is one of the most extraordinary I've ever seen. Despite all the lurid theories flying around since his death on Sunday, confirmation he was actually strangled is as stunning as it is unexpected.

The first thing to say is - yes the world cup should continue. It won't help the investigation if it's all scrapped, although I doubt anyone will care too much who eventually wins the thing.

As for why Woolmer was killed, the obvious reason would be some connection to match-fixing. The timing of his death, the day after Pakistan's shock (and now extremely suspicious) defeat to Ireland can't be a coincidence. Woolmer had a reputation for playing things fair - he refused to believe his South Africa captain Hansie Cronje had thrown games during the 1990s, and last summer during the fiasco at the Oval forced his Pakistan players to swear on the Koran they hadn't tampered with the ball. Did Woolmer know some of his players had thrown the Ireland game, and was he going to go public? If so, it's not difficult to imagine a desperate someone in a shady, big-money betting syndicate wanting him dead. Until we hear differently, we have to assume Woolmer was the man who knew too much.

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