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Monday, 30 August 2010

Its not cricket

We are told that Diana death was accidental, Dr David Kelly's death was suicide and Bob Woolmer's death was by natural causes but many people believe that one or more of these deaths was murder.

Bob Woolmer, for those who do not know, died on 18th March 2007 in his hotel room in Kingston, Jamaica when he was the Pakistan's cricket coach at the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies. His death was investigated as murder with suggestions that it was in some way linked to Asian betting syndicates. Perhaps he had found out that some Pakistan players colluding with the syndicates contributed to Pakistan losing to Ireland the previous day and was going to spill the beans.

I had been following Bob Woolmer's career since the early 1970s because I had been told that he was an old boy from a school I went to in Derbyshire. It appears that this "fact" is actually wrong but it has not meant I did not believe it for about 40 years.

And this is my point - a person's perception is often more relevant and powerful than facts. Fear is based on perception.

The British endearingly often fall into the trap of thinking that because a person speaks English and perhaps plays cricket that they have the same background, attitudes and values as them. The fact is Pakistan is about as different as you get to Britain; crime and the rule of law are a world apart.

Everyone in England seems to assume that the latest cricket betting scandal, this time involving Pakistan, is about individual cricketers making money. What if money is not the primary motivation but fear? Are they seriously advocating banning an 18 year old (probably the best fast bowler of his age in the history of the game) for life because he was probably doing what he was told and feared the consequences if he did not?

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