R.I.P.: Peter Roebuck

Just as I was about to wind up for the night, I came across this news bit on Twitter: Peter Roebuck is dead. He was supposedly being investigated for committing sexual assault when he jumped t0 his death from the 6th floor of his hotel room in South Africa. He was there to cover the Australia – South Africa series.

Whilst there is a lot to be said about the allegations that darken the waters, I must say we ought not speak ill of the dead. Roebuck was a fantastic cricket writer and a keen analytical mind. Although sometimes his tirades against the shenanigans of the Indian cricketers seemed a tad over the top and unwarranted, he seemed to be a fine student of the masterly game. And he wrote in a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners kind of way that was so bold in its approach that it almost stung.

Best known as a cricketer for destroying Somerset’s well oiled machine by ousting the likes of Viv Richards and Joel Garner, he was also a pain in the side for Beefy Botham. He captained England in 1989 at a time when no one wanted to take over the reins against The Netherlands in two ODIs and incredibly, lost one of them. Mickey Arthur, the then coach, if I am not mistaken, took him to the cleaners at the Press Conference later on.

peter roebuck somerset 1986

Although he came through the tried and trusted English Public School system, in the past few years he had become as Aussie as they come. His style of writing and his penchant for analyzing the great game seemed to gel well with the Aussie way of life.

However, he was dogged with controversy all his life. From admitting to corporal punishment of 3 young boys in 1999 to life long behind-the-back whisperings of him being gay, Roebuck did not have it easy. However, today, on the sad occasion of his passing, let us not remember the criticism of the man. Let us put them away for another day.

Today let us mourn the passing of a servant of the game, a student of the game, a strategist par excellence and above all, a dedicated chronicler of cricket.

Rest in peace, man!

6 thoughts on “R.I.P.: Peter Roebuck

  1. But I am afraid that whatever he may have done well, his sexual predations and the lives of all the young people he has traumatised is too heavy a price.
    Better that he had never written if that would have meant that his horrible behaviour to young cricketers under his authority could have been avoided.


    1. I agree that there should be zero tolerance for any sexual predation against young people, but the point is none of the charges brought against him included sexual assault, that is until the potentially last one, which claimed his life.

      I am not sure what happened and no one else seems to be either. So let us not assume the worst about a dead man and hold him guilty without perusing the true evidence.

      If there is concrete proof of his sexual assaults, then trust me, I will be the first person in line to criticize him.


  2. A wonderful wonderful writer. And thanks for emphasizing that part of him. He could memorably do descriptions of body language and nuances — the latest of which was Clark versus Stain on Day 1 of the first SA-AUS test. A true connoiseur of the game.


    1. Thanks. Indeed. I found an article on CricInfo about stress disorder and depression in cricketers (the index case was Shaun Tait) to be very touching as well. Of course, as a doctor I have a lot of interest in the medical side of the story but even so, his writing was wonderfully crafted…


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