Former cricketers pay tribute to Roebuck who commits suicide
Former cricketers paid tribute to renowned cricket writer Peter Roebuck who committed suicide in his hotel room in South Africa on Sunday.
England-born Roebuck, 55 and a former captain of Somerset, was covering the ongoing Test series between South Africa and Australia.
His death which came after unconfirmed reports that he had been spoken to by police earlier on Saturday which had apparently left him in an ‘agitated state’ brought many fulsome tributes on twitter from former cricketers and ordinary fans alike.
Former England captain and now commentator Tony Greig paid a poetic tribute to the often controversial Roebuck, who had just finished covering the sensational first Test between South Africa and Australia.
“The death of Peter Roebuck leaves the grass less green and cricket without its most effective investigative journalist,” tweeted Greig, himself no stranger to controversy during his cricket career.
Another former England cricketer turned journalist Derek Pringle said that the world of journalism had lost one of its brightest stars while referring to his complex personality.
“Peter Roebuck was a tortured, driven soul, but his suicide still comes as a shock. Cricket has lost its most erudite idealist,” tweeted Pringle.
Roebuck also recevied glowing praise from his employers.
He regularly commentated for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and wrote for the nation’s Fairfax newspapers.
“It is with great shock that we have learnt today that Peter Roebuck has died in Newlands, South Africa,” Fairfax chief Greg Hywood said in a statement.
“Peter was not only an extremely gifted cricket writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, he was also one of Australia’s most popular cricket commentators for the ABC,” added Hywood.
“In recent years he built a reputation as one of the best columnists on the sport.”
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland expressed shock at the death of Roebuck, a “familiar face” to the Australian cricket team, who had been with the players “only hours before his sudden death”.
“He spoke his mind frankly and while one didn’t necessarily always have to agree, you always respected what he had to say,” he added.
Craig Norenbergs, head of the ABC’s Grandstand sports programme, said it was “incredibly sad news”.
“He was an integral part of the Grandstand commentary team, apart from being a magnificent print journalist,” Norenbergs said.
“For us 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.”
Roebuck’s fellow commentator in ABC Radio and former Australia leg-spinner Kerry O’Keeffe described him as a “bookworm who loved the game”.
“Nobody analysed the game better, nobody cut to the chase more succinctly, and nobody saw where the game was going better,” O’Keeffe said
“Cricket consumed him and he played it with great distinction, and then turned to writing and commentary, and he was the No. 1 seed.
“It is the most devastating news for so many out there who knew that voice, so incisive - the blue print for all our cricket commentary. He rang me up nearly every week for the last 10 years to talk cricket, and every time I’d put the phone down and have a deeper view of the game after the conversation,” he added.
Roebuck was never far from controversy on and off the pitch and in 2001 received a suspended prison sentence in England for common assault for caning three South African teenage cricketers who had stayed with him in 1999.
Roebuck had caned them on their buttocks - he said he had warned them he would resort to corporal punishment - when they failed to meet his exacting standards during coaching sessions.
“Obviously I misjudged the mood and that was my mistake and my responsibility and I accept that,” he said at the time.