Thursday, 14 June, 2007

A huge relief, indeed

Jamaican police’s confirmation that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes should bring a welcome relief to cricket fans. It has ended months of speculation, which sometimes bordered on mindless sensationalism.

Bob Woolmer’s demise, the night Pakistan lost to Ireland, had cast a dark shadow over the Caribbean extravaganza. It was like the Dementor’s ‘kiss of death’, that almost sucked life out of the world cup.

Cricket has had its fair share of controversies in the past. The bodyline series, the packer circus, the match fixing episode, the doping scandals and the recent Oval gate have all contributed to tarnishing the image of ‘gentleman’s game’. But never was it about life and death. You don’t play cricket to kill someone. You don’t watch cricket to see someone die. Woolmer’s death threatened to carry the game into that very murky zone.

Worse, the story was played in full public glare. Ever since Jamaica Observer first broke the news that Woolmer’s death was not natural, it was a trial by media. Every news on Woolmer was sensationalized into a ‘breaking’ news. There was no voice of reasoning. And as is often the case, truth was the first casualty.

Now that Jamaican police themselves have explicitly stated that it was a natural death, I believe, heads should roll in Jamaican administration. If that seems far-fetched, they atleast owe an unequivocal apology to the cricket fans around the world for messing it up big time.

My heart goes out to Bob’s widow, Gill Woolmer, who was dignity personified, through this entire episode. It was easy to get provoked in face of rumours flying thick and fast since the day her husband died. She can now reflect on his memories, without being tormented by the exact cause of his death. And spare a thought for the Pakistan team. The age-old axiom of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ has been applied in a reverse way to them. They were guilty until proven otherwise. It is a shame that some of them have been viewed as convicted killers in this entire episode. Amidst the massive turmoil, we seem to have missed that, a great career has met with an appalling end. Inzamam Ul Haq certainly deserved a better exit from world stage than this.

While the pathologist Dr Ere Seshaiah still stands by his earlier report that Bob was indeed murdered, I hope we have heard the last on Bob Woolmer’s death.

Cricket can do without any more ambiguities.


granderBharata said...

i feel this is gonna leave behind conspiracy theories

People are gonna talk about this for a long time to come

Stic.Man. said...

I agree with gb, people will talk about this and some will still believe it is a cover up, perhaps more so because Pakistan have been involved in many recent controversies within the last year.

At the moment there doesn't seem to be much scope for a possible murder theory though as only one person has come forward and thought it is murder and his claim apparently contradicts three others in the same profession. Unless one of these guys comes out and makes a claim I think the matter will slowly drift away, but never the less it marks a culmination of a dark chapter in Pakistan cricket.

Cricket Guru said...

Hey GB and Stic,

Good to see you two on CAAT (Cicket And All That) :)

I know GB, it will leave long trail. The Jamaican govt has set up another enquiry and their report is expected by 31st July. I hope it only confirms what the Scotland Yard and Jamaican Police have said of late.


This was indeed the darkest hour for Pak cricket, worse than the ovalgate controversy. They need to put all that behind and start the new season without any baggage.

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