March 21, 2007

Cricket Coach's Death Considered Suspicious: Jamaican police are now treating the death of Pakistan national cricket coach Bob Woolmer, one of the most accomplished coaches in his sport, as suspicious. Woolmer died hours after the country's loss to Ireland in the Cricket World Cup.

posted by rcade to other at 10:54 AM - 25 comments

Previously being discussed here (apologies, rcade, for mocking your initial suggestion of foul play in that thread - I'm doubly troubled that you would appear to have been on to something with that).

posted by JJ at 12:29 PM on March 21, 2007

I'm still hoping that there's nothing more here than the type of suspicious the police attach to every "sudden death", but I guess we won't know until the toxicology comes back. When RCade originally said "this doesn't look good" I was bemused at what he meant and my mind immediately went to suicide, because I had no thought at all that something more sinister could have happened so quickly. I still have my fingers crossed that Woolmer's own wife is correct and that there is no conspiracy or outside force at play here. Woolmer was a brilliant coach, but most of all he exploded enthusiasm for cricket and if someone has seen fit to take his life for losing two matches, then I just won't know what to say.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:39 PM on March 21, 2007

Well, regardless of foul play - it still didn't look good. Actually, that's misleading. There are no foul plays in cricket. Hell, you can hit the ball directly behind you - which is just crazy and unseemly to my North American blood. Also - one strike and you're out?!? IT'S ANARCHY!!! Anyway. If he was killed I hope they shut the fucking thing down - a la Italy this year. Just retarded. Mock funerals and FOR SALE signs are one thing, this is quite another.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:06 PM on March 21, 2007

This just in: Water is wet! Drink at 11!

posted by Drood at 01:47 PM on March 21, 2007

Rumours swirled around the players and reached Pakistan - with talk of match fixing, of betting syndicates, and of murder. Blimey, though I think the preceding phrase. "storm of speculation" will likely provide the only basis for that.

posted by Abiezer at 08:31 PM on March 21, 2007

Yes, they're running the 'bookies/match fixing' line in the media down here, too. After they had already run with 'natural causes', 'stress', 'overdose', 'diabetic' (wrong) and then shifted into 'marks around neck', 'suspicious' etc. Preliminary results of the autopsy are supposed to be available later today.

posted by owlhouse at 10:12 PM on March 21, 2007

His wife Gill told an Indian television station on Wednesday she did not see any conspiracy in Woolmer's fate. "He emailed me the following morning [after the Ireland loss]," she told NDTV. "He did mention that he was really depressed and could not believe how this could have happened. The Pakistani team's poor performance affected him, as any other big tournament that he lost as a coach." Mrs Woolmer said her husband was healthy and was not taking medication for type two diabetes, but he had been prescribed some anti-inflammatory tablets.

posted by Abiezer at 01:11 AM on March 22, 2007

A broken neck is the latest from the Guardian, but not officially.

posted by Fence at 03:49 PM on March 22, 2007

And the police already discounted that one, Fence. "Police have rejected suggestions they are treating the case as murder after a report that a broken bone had been found in Woolmer's neck. Police described the source quoted by the Jamaica Gleaner as a rogue member of the force. " From the Beeb. This is sad, because the Police are actually waiting to speak about what happened until they know, so the rumours are just flying in to fill the vacuum.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:14 PM on March 22, 2007

Manual strangulation, according to CNN. I hope there's a special ring in hell for the person that murders to avenge a lost game.

posted by dusted at 07:18 PM on March 22, 2007

Holy cats! This is dreadful. Deep condolences to the his family, friends and teammates - and a strong wish that the murderer is found quickly.

posted by Joey Michaels at 07:51 PM on March 22, 2007

The Sydney Morning Herald ( is now leading with the Jamaican police running it as a murder investigation.

posted by owlhouse at 11:23 PM on March 22, 2007

The BBC are reporting it the same as Joey now - manual strangulation. Over a game. Dear god.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:14 AM on March 23, 2007


posted by squealy at 03:59 AM on March 23, 2007

It's very unlikely to be over a game in that sense - over a gambling syndicate problem maybe, but surely to god not just some fanatic.

posted by JJ at 06:43 AM on March 23, 2007

So much for dismissing it as speculation like I did above. JJ's surely right about the betting links then. I presume the tournament will be stopped soon.

posted by Abiezer at 07:03 AM on March 23, 2007

I know nothing about cricket. If this was related to gambling rather than an angry fan, robbery or some crime of passion, how much could a cricket coach do to throw a match? Did Woolmer make any decisions in the game that were dodgy?

posted by rcade at 07:29 AM on March 23, 2007

I think the gambling issue is coming out because Woolmar was writing a book, and possibly may have been about to reveal secrets that certain people didn't want revealed. I'm sure I remember hearing speculation on Sky News that copies of his manuscript were the only thing missing from his room. Although whether you'd want to trust Sky news is another issue altogether. Whatever the cause it is a sad time for his family and friends.

posted by Fence at 07:35 AM on March 23, 2007

I find it really strange that, if it does turn out to be death by manual strangulation, they ever thought it might have been natural causes or chemically induced or whatever. I'd think the trauma would be obvious, but maybe it was just being kept quiet.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:31 AM on March 23, 2007

However, the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), said the competition would continue as planned to "demonstrate that cricket cannot be put off by a cowardly criminal act". From this BBC report. ICC no doubt unmoved by any financial implications of cancelling the tournament.

posted by Abiezer at 08:36 AM on March 23, 2007

Various news reports are also saying that the murderer was probably someone he knew. Very strange indeed.

posted by afx237vi at 08:53 AM on March 23, 2007

From this BBC report. ICC no doubt unmoved by any financial implications of cancelling the tournament. Heh. You can't close Amity Island during tourist season just because of a couple shark attacks.

posted by rcade at 09:09 AM on March 23, 2007

dun dun, dun dun, dun dunnnnn......Shark!

posted by tommybiden at 09:13 AM on March 23, 2007

You know, I am a Bears fan, and it was sad enough to start with that our greatest ever coach had met an untimely end; to have been murdered makes it even sadder, but, bugger me, the murderer must have had hands like bloody shovels.....have you seen the size of Woolmers neck?

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:26 PM on March 23, 2007

Did Woolmer make any decisions in the game that were dodgy? All the reports I'd read suggested that Ireland (that is, a few Irish, a few Aussies and at least one South African) just had a good day: if anything, they suggested that one umpire gave a few dubious decisions against Ireland, particularly the non-catch dismissal of Botha. In any case, coaches generally don't have that much input during actual matches, even one-dayers: tactical decisions are for the captain. And all the best-known match-fixing scandals involved players. So, to answer your question: I can't think of any situation (given the ordinary division of duties between coach and captain) where a coach could make a deliberate decision to affect a match.

posted by etagloh at 12:14 AM on March 26, 2007

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