New Delhi: South African cricketer Clive Rice, who died yesterday battling a brain tumour, was convinced Pakistan's South African coach Bob Woolmer was killed in the West Indies during the 2007 ICC World Cup.

Late Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer. Pic/AFP
Late Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer. Pic/AFP  

Rice, a close friend of Woolmer's, told this writer that he would never buy the "official" theory that Woolmer died of a heart attack.

"I have serious doubts about Woolmer's death," Rice said in an interview, to be published in Fixed: Cash and Corruption in Cricket, a forthcoming book by Harper Collins. Rice said that cricket scandals are replete with examples of cops failing abysmally while probing scandals.

But according to him, the best example of what could have been an open-and-shut case but was royally messed up by the investigators was the death under questionable circumstances of Woolmer.

"I heard the trachea had been damaged, then someone told me about a heart attack. Now, how is that possible?" said Rice.

He said he had a feeling that it would have been extremely disgraceful for the image of the World Cup organisers if a murder was revealed. Rice said it was a mistake on part of the South African government not to conduct an autopsy on Woolmer's when the body arrived in Johannesburg.

Why no witness?
Rice had a point. There were other details Rice had gathered. He wanted to know why in the fifth week of the inquest, a subpoenaed witness failed to turn up.

David Wong Ken, a local DJ who claimed to have evidence about Woolmer's death, failed to appear under instruction from his lawyer. Rice sought answers from the ICC, but got none.