Peter Roebuck

Charles 3 Comments


I once saw Peter Roebuck, the ex-Somerset cricket captain who yesterday committed suicide. He was pacing up and down outside the pavilion while the pitch dried out, deep in thought, consuming a brooding cigarette.  An analytical, introspective loner, he was no stranger to melancholy and controversy. The title of his first book, ‘It Never Rains — A Cricketer’s Lot’ tells you something about his emotional disposition. 

The day I saw him Ian Botham was still a Somerset player. (When Roebuck got rid of Joel Garner and Viv Richards because he reckoned them over the hill, Botham decamped in fury to Worcestershire.) I remember sitting watching a damp afternoon’s play. Botham square cut a ball to the boundary with such effortless power that it dematerialised as he hit it and rematerialised a second later as it crashed into the boundary board. It was as sweet a shot as I have ever seen. 

Cricket has a very high suicide rate in the UK, double the national average. In South Africa the rate is even higher. Cricketers are the only sportsmen so afflicted. 

But suicide is not a problem in the women’s game. And it is pretty much unknown in non-Anglo Saxon countries — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the West Indies.  Do you know why?

There’s a very good tribute to Roebuck by team mate Vic Marks in the Guardian here





  1. Charles


    a good piece, as ever – terribly sad about PR, who wrote some terrific stuff for the AUS newspapers and was a real asset to the journalistic side of the game, it’s been reported that personal issues played a part in this


  2. Charles

    Some good pieces on PR flagged up here by Andy Bull of the Guardian

    People who knew Roebuck more than I did and understood him more than I could will write better tributes than this. They are the ones who knew how much baggage he had picked up along the way, and were least surprised by the way his life ended. If you haven’t already take a little time to read what Vic Marks has to say about his old team-mate,

    Derek Pringle about his old opponent,

    Greg Baum about his old friend

    and Peter English about his old mentor

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>