Monday, March 26, 2007

Was Bob Woolmer killed by a player?

Mark Shields, the police chief in charge of the investigation into the murder of Pakistan cricket team coach Bob Woolmer, said in an interview today that he let the team leave Jamaica to avoid sparking a "significant diplomatic incident."

Authorities declared members of the Pakistan team in the clear, at least for the time being, and allowed them to leave the island on Saturday, when they flew to London for a stopover on their way home (see picture).

Pakistan team spokesman Pervez Mir meanwhile recounted details of what three of the team's members - captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, caretaker coach Mushtaq Ahmed and manager Talat Ali - had been asked when they were questioned by police for a second time.

Inzamam was apparently asked why he changed his room in the hotel from the 12th floor to the fifth, a move he made before Woolmer's murder, to which he responded that he wanted to be closer to the team's players.

Police asked Ali why he changed floors from the 12th after Woolmer's death, to which he responded that he was scared. He was also asked how many times a day he prayed, a question he declined to answer. Ahmed was meanwhile asked about cuts to his face, which he said he sustained during the team's practice on the morning of the Ireland match.

Details are now emerging of the enormous influence Inzamam held over the team and his numerous disputes with Woolmer, culminating in a huge row on the team bus on the day of his murder.

The former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Shaharyar Khan, writing on said on Sunday,

"Bob had some cricketing differences with Inzamam-ul-Haq ... for days the captain would go into a brooding silence while Bob attempted to overcome the problem through rational discussion. The more serious issue was that Inzamam was not only the cricketing leader but the spiritual talisman of the team who expected - and was mostly given - total obeisance by his team mates."

So who could it have been?

i) A bookmaker?
However, informed sources have poured scorn on the idea that the killing is the work of Indian bookmakers, believing such a high-profile execution is completely out of character with their secretive ways.

ii) A local Jamaican gangster?
Mark Shields, the police officer in charge, stated yesterday that he believed this unlikely as "knives and firearms" are their favoured weapons.

iii) A player?
It's looking like the only option. Perhaps Woolmer's autobiography was going to reveal some particularly unpleasant aspects of the Pakistani team. Police believe that CCTV evidence may provide further clues.

Personally, i cannot believe that the cricket is continuing. Who cares who wins anymore.