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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


Pakistan cricketers DNA tested

Jon Bramley | March 24, 2007 11:14 IST

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Pakistan's World Cup cricketers provided DNA samples on Friday as Jamaican police probed the murder of their coach Bob Woolmer and awaited results of tests on his body for more clues on how he died.

The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Nasim Ashraf, stressed no member of the Pakistan team was suspected by police of Woolmer's murder five days ago.

The team had been through "unbelievable stress and trauma" and simply wanted to fly home as soon as possible, he said. A team spokesman said they would return on Saturday.

On Thursday night, Jamaican police had revealed that Woolmer, 58, one of the most famous figures in the game, had been strangled four days earlier.

The news sent shock waves through cricket -- a sport still concentrated in former British colonies -- and completely overshadowed the action in the ninth edition of the 32-year-old tournament.

For the second day running on Friday, the Pakistan team assisted the police inquiry, giving DNA samples having been interviewed at length and fingerprinted the day before.

"Our main concern now is the safety and welfare of the Pakistani team in Jamaica," Ashraf told a news conference in Islamabad. "My earnest desire and effort at this time is that the team comes back and joins their families."

Jamaican police said that they had yet to receive toxicology and histology (study of body tissue) reports from tests on Woolmer's body.

BETTING CARTEL

A statement from Woolmer's family in Cape Town attempted to dispel growing speculation in media around the world that he had been a victim of a betting cartel, upset at Pakistan's shock World Cup exit to debutants Ireland the day before his death.

"To the best of the family's knowledge there is absolutely nothing to suggest Bob was involved in match fixing," his wife and sons said in a statement.

"Contrary to reports, they can confirm there is nothing in any book Bob had written that would explain this situation and there were no threats received," the statement said, read by Woolmer's manager Michael Cohen at his home in Cape Town.

Some media reports had said that Woolmer was writing a book that would expose sensitive details of match fixing.

Cheating of this kind in cricket has been a blight over the last 15 years and in the late 1990s the South African captain Hansie Cronje was banned for life for the offence.

Woolmer was the South African coach during this period but he was regarded in cricket circles as being untainted by the Cronje scandal.


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