By Brady Halls
When Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was found murdered in a Caribbean Hotel room during the World Cup, it was a headline story of unprecedented proportions.
Here was an international cricket team being questioned as murder suspects, fingerprinted in fact by police trying to find the person or people behind Woolmer's killing.
In Pakistan people live and breathe cricket. The players are treated like movie stars. "Cricket rivals religion in this country," the head of the Pakistani Cricket Board told me. A big call in an Islamic nation that stops five times a day to pray.
So here was a country where there's no excuse to lose being eliminated from the World Cup after being beaten by lowly ranked Ireland. As we talked to people on the street, in hotels and in businesses it became clear that Pakistanis were angry. You can understand that some may look for a victim to pay for such humiliation.
For years cricket has been tainted by corruption. Nearly all the World Cup teams have had members involved in seedy dealings with illegal bookmakers. We spoke to plenty of officials and players who had been offered what seemed to us to be a standard US$100,000 fee to come onboard.
For that amount a player or official would be at the beck and call of the bookie. To do so such a professional would help to throw a match or just a no ball from time to time.
Cricket players in Pakistan don't make big money. An international win for them could mean a trophy. They earn a small wage from the Pakistani Cricket Board.
When an illegal bookmaker comes knocking on your door with the offer of US$100,000 , you can understand the temptation. You can see how temptation has given way to fair play and how cricket today is more than just a sport, it's a big business.