Australia cricket fraternity pays tribute to Peter Roebuck

Peter Roebuck committed suicide at a hotel in Cape Town on Sunday

Melbourne: Nov 14, 2011

Shaken by the news of noted columnist Peter Roebuck’s suicide in South Africa, Australian players, current and former, paid tribute to him with former captain Steve Waugh saying that the Englishman was “without a doubt, cricket’s premier journalist.”

The 55-year-old Roebuck, who was in South Africa to cover Australia’s ongoing series against Proteas, plunged to his death from his hotel room in Cape Town after being reportedly questioned by police over allegations of sexual assault.

Australian team members, including captain Michael Clarke, vice-captain Shane Watson and former skipper Ricky Ponting, offered condolences to Roebuck’s other journalist colleagues.

Clarke said he was woken in the middle of the night to the news and was left shocked.

Team batting coach Justin Langer described Roebuck as a “great writer” and a “talent lost”.

Ponting, who was severly criticised by Roebuck during the 2008 ‘Monkeygate’ scandal, also offered condolences, telling Roebuck’s colleagues that he was sorry for the loss.

Tributes also poured in from former Australian cricketers. Ex-skipper Steve Waugh lavished praise on the former county cricketer, who captained Somerset.

Waugh said Roebuck was “without a doubt…cricket’s premier journalist.”

“He was never afraid to tackle the big issues in world cricket and would often be a lone voice if he believed strongly in the cause,” Waugh was quoted as saying by ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’.

“As a captain I would always be keen to read Peter’s take on the previous day’s play. He had the unique knowledge, instincts and gut feel that enabled him to interpret body language, detect the subtle duels and tussles that would often be a precursor to a more defining moment,” he said.

Mark Taylor, whom Waugh succeeded in 1999, said Roebuck’s writing was objective.

“He didn’t write articles or say things which he thought would make him popular,” said Taylor.

“Not every player, me included, agreed with what he said all the time. We did know it wasn’t based on a whim, it was based on a lot of experience,” he said.

Greg Chappell, also a former India coach, said not many know about Roebuck’s charity work for aspiring cricketers, who didn’t have the means to pursure their passion.

“Something like 250 kids in cricket-playing countries around the world, underprivileged kids, are being educated through the LBW Trust, and that was from his vision,” Chappell said.

“He had a very distinctive style and was a well-thought-of commentator and writer on the game.”

Another former captain Ian Chappell also praised Roebuck for his fearless writing.

“We didn’t talk so much about the game, more about things around the game, like corruption – he always had pretty good contacts – and things like Zimbabwe, which he felt pretty strongly about,” he said.

“We’d talk about players a bit, and I always made a point of seeking him out because I enjoyed his opinions … he was a damn good writer, a colourful writer and he brought other things in life into it.” (PTI)

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