In one of the week’s bigger stories (that I’ve, uh, totally ignored), Pakistan’s cricket coach Bob Woolmer, previously an England test batsman and coach of the South African national side, was found dead in his hotel room the Sunday morning after Pakistan lost to Ireland in a massive World Cup upset. While speculation continues to mount surrounding Woolmer’s cause of death, at least one interested party is pretty certain there was foul play. From the India Times’ Ashish Shukla :

Former Pakistani paceman Sarfraz Nawaz (above) has little doubt that the “death” of Bob Woolmer has been a conspiracy hatched by the underbelly of cricket, the betting mafia operational in the sub-continent.

Sarfraz drags everyone in the net: From Pakistan Cricket Board to captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, fellow Pakistani cricketers and even International Cricket Council (ICC) whom he describes as the fountainhead of betting mafia.

“I urge upon cricket nations to stop taking part in the ICC-held events. They are havens for match-fixers. ICC is actively promoting it,” said Sarfraz.

However, what Sarfraz had to say on Woolmer’s death probably overshadowed everything else.

“Bob must have seen how Pakistan team went about its business against West Indies. You could sense it from their body language that something was amiss. I believe he was writing a book and he would have come off with sensational disclosures.

“I surely feel that he has been bumped off. It was the betting mafia which eliminated Hansie Cronje. It was the same betting mafia which killed “Cadbury” the well-known bookie from Pakistan who later settled in South Africa. “Cadbury” body was cut into pieces. Now that has been the fate of Woolmer.”

Sarfraz openly claimed that captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, along with Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik were involved in betting.

“Rana Naved is being regularly promoted even though he doesn’t deserve a place because of his recent poor performances. When Mushtaq was reappointed I straightaway went to PCB and questioned how they could keep a “dubious character” in seat. Shoaib, everyone knows, is in league with bookmakers.”

“You look at pitches played in the Champions Trophy last year in India. All of them were unduly favouring the bowlers. The same has happened in this World Cup: bowlers have a field day in the initial phase of matches.

“ICC is actually tampering with the pitches so that even a minnow can upset a top team on their day. That’s what exactly happened when India and Pakistan played first against Bangladesh and Ireland.”

Former Pakistan leg-spinner and captain Abdul Qadir came out in support of Sarfraz and said it was time the charges laid by the tall former medium-pacer were seriously investigated.

“Every time he makes these charges, people tend to make fun of him. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. Authorities should investigate the charges laid by Sarfraz because most of the time, he is able to predict things in advance. He had said before the tournament began that Pakistan could lose to West Indies and Ireland.”