Pakistan Cricket Coach Bob Woolmer: Not Murdered!

Posted on June 13, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Sports
21 Comments
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Adil Najam

So it turns out that Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was not murdered after all.

Of course, some of our readers had never believed that charge in the first place. And it has now been clear for a while that this was not murder.

But seeing the news reports on the television still leaves me feeling very uncomfortable – even queasy. This raises more questions in one’s mind.

What about the way we will remember this man? In those first few days before the murder story was floated, there was an outpouring of respect for Woolmer amongst Pakistanis. I myself had suggested renaming National Stadium in his memory. But with all the murder talk we forgot about him and his career and his service as Pakistan coach. Maybe its time to remember him again?

What about the Pakistan team and players and all the emotional cost to them? Should there be an apology? By whom? This is not about a blame game. It is about bringing real closure to a very sordid affair.

And why – for God’s sake why – did this story carry so much credibility for so wrong. It not only dragged the Woolmer family through even greater pain than the immensity of the news about his death. It put a shadow not just over the Pakistan team but over Pakistan cricket. And it made the World Cup event so much less than it should have been. All all of this for what?

21 Comments on “Pakistan Cricket Coach Bob Woolmer: Not Murdered!”

  1. Akif Nizam says:
    June 13th, 2007 10:35 am

    “And why – for God’s sake why – did this story carry so much credibility for so wrong”

    Adil, my theory is that it had to do with a recent rash of high profile cases in various Carribean islands which drew a lot of media coverage for local law enforcement agencies. There was the Anna Nicole Smith case in Bahamas, then there was another case in Aruba of a missing American teenager, among others. All these cases brought their respective fifteen minutes of fame to the police officers and investigators and they were paraded all over the news networks. I think police in Jamaica must have thought that this was their chance to become instant celebrities with all the cameras already in place for the World Cup.

  2. umar khan says:
    June 13th, 2007 11:38 am

    imran khan says we should sue, pj mir says we should sue, m. yousaf says we shd sue but in comes the imported PCB chief who says we wont sue. inzi, an EX captain says we shdnt sue and that we shd leave it with the Almighty (as if the honour of 160million people has2be decided by inzi alone)!

    what a bunch of headless chickens!

    never wld u see such a vast array of contrasting opinions in the australian or english camps!

  3. zamanov says:
    June 13th, 2007 12:44 pm

    The least the Jamiacan police and the World Cup Organizing Committee should do now is to offer an unconditional apology to the Pakistan team. They might also want to offer each one of them (and their families) free tickets to Jamaica again but I suspect there would be no takers for that on our side.

    I strongly believe there should be a lawsuit from the Pakistan board at least against the Jamaican police and the ICC Organizing Committee, the expected outcome of which should not necessarily be monetary but a legal and moral acknowledgement of harrassment and mental anguish caused to the Pakistani team (and nation!).

    Rest assured if the English, South African or Australian team had been through this nightmare with a natural death at the end they would have sued the ICC, the World Cup Org. Committee and the entire nation of Jamaica. The PCB (and the incompetent & hopefully soon to be replaced) Chairman need to get their heads out of the sand and show some leadership in this case. They need to forcefully show the ICC and the cricket world that as one of the premier cricketing nations in the world we deserve a certain dignity and respect, in defense of which we will fight in a court of law, on the cricketing field, and in the forum of public opinion.

    My sincere suggestion: Please keep Mr. (drag-God-into-every man-made-mess) Inzamam-ul-Haq as far away from this case and Pakistan cricket as we can.

  4. nazir says:
    June 13th, 2007 1:17 pm

    Who should we sue? For how much damages? Who should the money go to? I don’t think it is a good idea. Remember the age old adage – People living in glass houses should not throw stones at others? If at all their is someone to be sued it is Musharraf and his cotorie of mean minded ruffians who are intimidating civil society in Pakistan.

  5. June 13th, 2007 1:36 pm

    In the beginning I had doubt that he was murdered and I wrote in my blog twice about my doubt. I was sure that his death either be a suicide or drug overdose related death. You can read my posts on Bob’s death at
    http://www.mypakistan.com/?p=510
    http://www.mypakistan.com/?p=512

  6. Fahad says:
    June 13th, 2007 2:01 pm

    What about the way we will remember this man? In those first few days before the murder story was floated, there was an outpouring of respect for Woolmer amongst Pakistanis. I myself had suggested renaming National Stadium in his memory. But with all the murder talk we forgot about him and his career and his service as Pakistan coach. Maybe its time to remember him again?

    What about the Pakistan team and players and all the emotional cost to them? Should there be an apology? By whom? This is not about a blame game. It is about bringing real closure to a very sordid affair.

    What about Woolmer’s last e-mail sent to Naseem Ashraf? Doesn’t it sound as if written by someone whose first language was not english?

    http://content-pak.cricinfo.com/woolmer/content/current/story/294016.html

    What do you think?

  7. Fahad says:
    June 13th, 2007 2:04 pm
  8. Razi says:
    June 13th, 2007 2:08 pm

    Interesting bit appeared in the New York Times today. Copied are excerpts about the Pathologist who conducted the initial autopsy and declared it a murder.
    ================================================
    NY TIMES

    Dr. Sheshiah, the government pathologist, had originally called Mr. Woolmer’s death “inconclusive.â€

  9. Rehan says:
    June 13th, 2007 2:54 pm

    The truth isn’t sexy but it is still the truth.

  10. Kruman says:
    June 13th, 2007 7:33 pm

    To say that the murder of Bob Wollmer was mishnadled by Jamiacan police would be a huge understatement. Pakistan should demand an apology from Jamaican police.

    Imran Khan had stated earlier that Bob’s tragic death was exploited by “some” to malign Pakistan. Without questioning their intentions, I do want to point out that Indian media had a field day with rumors and spuculations around Woolmer’s death.

    Sarfaraz Nawaz did not miss the opportunity to prove, once again, what an idiot he is.

  11. Aqil Sajjad says:
    June 13th, 2007 8:22 pm

    Nasim Ashraf is more interested in getting an apology from senator Enver Baig and threatening legal proceedings for his remarks rather than the Jamaica police and others who were responsible for all the rumours about the death being a murder:
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20076\14\story_14-6-2007_pg2_8

  12. Faraz says:
    June 13th, 2007 9:47 pm

    I think we are jumping to conclusions. What would an apology or a lawsuit really do any way, other than creating another circus? Lets move on.

  13. Owais Mughal says:
    June 13th, 2007 10:17 pm

    I read Inzamam’s statement today that ‘jo hona tha ho chuka’. PCB should not suit. Put everything behind us.

    m Yousuf on the other hand has said PCB should take some kind of action for defamation

  14. Sohaib says:
    June 14th, 2007 12:56 am

    This is extremely distressing for everyone involved. The questions posed by Mr Najam are most relevant. Imagine ten years later when we hear a documentary or feature about Woolmer, or even when our kids ask us about the ‘famous’ Pakistan coach, what will we tell them? “Oh, he used to be a great coach, took South Africa to heights, tried to do the same in Pakistan, failed, and hence no one liked him. He died in the middle of the World Cup. And for the longest time we thought it was murder.”

    I don’t think a such a seemingly decent and nice guy deserved such a biography.

  15. Viqar Minai says:
    June 14th, 2007 1:40 am

    I think there is little point in sueing. There is no doubt but that this sordid episode has left a very sick taste in the mouths of Pakistani fans. I was flabberghasted by how people on message boards were tyring to outdo each other playing Sherlock Holmes, and trying to figure out which of the Pak team player(s).

    I blame the whole thing on the Carribean cricket and administrative authorities. There seems to be no end to Pak team’s misfortunes whenever visiting the WI, whether it is bats getting stolen, players arrested for beach recreation activities, and now this.

    I think Pakistan should put an end to touring WI, and tell the WIndian authorities that this boycott will not be lifted until they shape up and start treating our teams with the respect and dignity they deserve.

  16. YLH says:
    June 14th, 2007 2:31 am

    The fact that Bob Woolmer was not murdered means that he died of heart break caused by Pakistan’s defeat at the hands of Ireland…

    Re-name National Stadium as Woolmer stadium… it is the least we can do.

  17. Nusrat says:
    June 14th, 2007 2:46 am

    I think the point of the writeup is being missed. We need to re-think his legacy WITHOUT the murder story. See, we are still talking about the murder. Najam’s point is that we need to talk about the man again and remember him as a cricketer a coach and a person and not just as a sensational story. Maybe naming a stadium will get that started.

  18. June 14th, 2007 10:45 am

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  19. ayesha sajid says:
    June 14th, 2007 5:28 pm

    One wonders if the same had happened to another teams coach on Pakistani ground , what would have been the scenario ?
    Had our good old men in malaysia/khaki ( the police ) made the same kind of jumping the gun accusations against the gora log , what would have happened ?
    Would any other team have taken this quietly had they been hinted at being involved in such a sordid deal ?

    Lets say sueing the said authorities would be pointless ( although i do feel it should have happened )
    should not our PCB or perhaps even our government have protested a little louder ?
    should not have we lodged a stronger statement ?

    Oh ofcourse , we are busy digging our own graves …

  20. Salma says:
    June 18th, 2007 2:52 am

    I agree, lets at least name a stadium for him.

  21. Alan says:
    June 24th, 2007 9:32 am

    Perhaps the Irish should sue as well ?
    There are many who still believe that Bob was murdered and I am one of them. However, it is important to cherish his memory and global contribution to cricket. He helped so many emerging nations. He didn’t let down Pakistan or anyone else but was instead at crucial moments let down by others.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)