I can't think of a sadder time in the game of cricket than the present. The news today that Bob Woolmer's death is believed by the Jamaican Police to be murder by strangulation, leaves me utterly speechless. What we need to know now is who did it, and why. Is this the first murder of a leading cricket identity that is related to the pernicious illegal betting industry?
Apart from the 1972 Munich Olympics, I can think of no other major international sporting event scarred by murder in this way. The ICC is correct to insist that the remainder of the World Cup will go ahead, but it does run the risk of becoming a five-week exercise in Going Through The Motions.
Bob Woolmer deserves to be remembered on at least three major counts: firstly, as a feisty batsman (and bowler) for England, especially in the Ashes of 1975 and 1977, and in the county championship for Kent; secondly as a leading force in the comparatively new field of team coaching; and thirdly, his tenure as the ICC's inaugural high performance manager between 2001 and 2004, during which he played a pivotal role in the development of the game in the leading non-Test nations.
In the latter role, he may have played a very indirect role in Pakistan's undoing against Ireland on St Patricks Day 2007, Woolmer's final game.
We now seem to know how Bob Woolmer died. It is so very important that we find out why.