Cricket writer Peter Roebuck commits suicide

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Published: Sunday, November 13, 2011, 9:51 [IST]
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Writer Peter Roebuck commits suicide

Cape Town, Nov 13: Peter Roebuck, well-known cricket journalist covering the ongoing test series between Australia and South Africa, committed suicide on Saturday night at his hotel room in Capetown, South Africa.

A statement released by South African Police suggest that Peter Roebuck, who also wrote for Indian newspapers, took away his own life.

"This office can confirm that an incident occurred last night at about 21:15 at a hotel in Claremont where a 55-year-old British national who worked as an Australian commentator committed suicide," the statement said.

"The circumstances surrounding this incident is being conducted. An inquest docket has been opened for investigation," it said.

Worked as a broadcaster for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Peter Roebuck also wrote for the nation's Fairfax newspapers, was covering Australia's test series with Proteas when he was found dead at his hotel in Newlands, according to media reports.

Though the circumstances of his death were not clear, the Sydney Morning Herald said, he had reportedly been "spoken to by police earlier in the day".

The 55 year old Roebuck, after studying law at Cambridge, played 335 first class matches, also played alongside Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards,before venturing into a career writing about sports, established himself quickly with his flair for writing and his style of expressing things that happened on and off the field made him even more popular every passing day.

"He could describe a game of cricket in such a way that even if you didn't like the game, you liked the way that he went about his business," said Craig Norenbergs, the ABC Grandstand manager.

"He was an integral part of the Grandstand commentary team, apart from being a magnificent print journalist," Norenbergs said and also described Roebuck's death as "incredibly sad news".

A recipient of Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1998, Roebuck was the captain of the English county side Somerset in 1980s and used play for Devon regularly after retiring from top-level cricket in 1991.

He had penned several books on the sport and was a polarising figure known for his strong views, was also admired as one of cricket's most articulate and incisive minds.

Roebuck, first held his pen in 1980s, he proved he was quite different from others by giving a detailed report with analysis creating a unique style of writing. Roebuck, one of the best critics, who new the mechanics of the game, looked at the game's heart and soul and was often saddened.

His pen gave no mercy as his comments were quite harsh and were often brutal pointing out the facts and analysis that was difficult to digest. He got the ire of cricket fans after the controversial Sydney test, having accused the Australilan team for being bad sports in their victory over India.

Though his words were harsh and sharp, which hit the bull's eye, it was commanding as well as compelling as those harsh words would have been woven in poetic verses.

A few excerpts of his writing serve as a sample for more reading.

He famously wrote of Indian Cricket Board, BCCI - "It has been their failure to show the slightest respect for faithful supporters sitting in extreme discomfort in the stands. Just for a day, Dalmiya and his merry men should be made to swap places, toilets and refreshments with those they are supposed to be serving, those who ultimately pay the bills."

People started admiring him since he held up a mirror to society itself by giving accurate details, analyzing the facts and giving them the other angle of the story.

On Hansie Cronje's wake of exposure and his subsequent charges at the hands of the press, he wrote - "Mature societies realize that the world is not divided into heroes and villains and that every man and every nation endures the struggle between the forces of light and dark. Cronje deserves neither our contempt nor uncritical admiration. His life should serve as an inspiration and as a warning."

His articles were informative, analytical and thought provoking too. Roebuck, an ideal role model for budding cricket journalists, guide who showed the world how to express the views strongly and in an articulate manner, will sorely be missed by the cricketing fraternity and the journalists across the globe.


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