As a major student news site, Young Academic acknowledges the great work of Peter Roebuck and assesses the controversies that seemed to surround him constantly. He was no doubt a cricketing genius but it seems he was a troubled man and in this article I pay respect to a great man regardless of his illicit actions.
Our sympathies no doubt go out to the friends and family of this truly great ex cricketer and cricket writer but will his untimely death over shadow all the great things he brought to the game?
Peter Roebuck played 335 first class games, with 552 innings saw him produce over 17 000 runs with a highest score of 221 not out. He was not dismissed 81 times, overall giving him an average of 37.72 and producing 33 centuries and 93 half centuries. These are statistics that surely any cricketer would have been proud of. During his time asSomersetcaptain he made the controversial decisions to get rid of two great players of the game, Viv Richards and Joel Gardner, perhaps a precedent that he set for times to come on and off the field as he was quite often surrounded by controversy. These controversies however do not blemish him as great cricket writer regarding him as one of the best a long side with Michael Atherton and Gideon Haigh. He was always very opinionated which showed with his strong views about how Zimbabwe should have been treated and more recently, him calling for the ex Australian captain, Ricky Ponting to be axed from the job.
His death occurred on Saturday night at approximately 21:15 and reports show that his death is being treated as a suicide and that investigations are on-going. Roebuck was questioned over a possible sexual assault charge before he leapt to his death but South African police appear reluctant to further comment on this case.
Roebuck had previously been acquitted from an assault charge in 2001 after admitting to assault on three men who he was coaching at his house. These men had been victims of harsh capital punishments when they were caned repeatedly for not meeting targets and training to Roebuck’s standards. Reports also suggest that he had made some of the men feel uncomfortable in terms of the way he treated them, and things he had asked them to do, for example after caning one of the men he had asked to see the wounds, when the man only moved the shorts to one said Roebuck had pulled his shorts down for a brief moment. One could have seen these as homosexual advancements but as there is nothing to fully support this view then one cannot fully understand the sexuality of this man. One however cannot help but feel that the sexuality of this great cricketing man should not be the issue being questioned; it should certainly be the reasoning behind his suicide.
Peter Roebuck’s life was no doubt filled with controversy, whether on the field, in his writings or the actions he carried out, but one thing can be assured. He was a magnificent cricketer that brought so much to the game on and off the field, perhaps he could not deal with his demons anymore and saw fit to end his life, the reason for is suicide though we may never know but we do know that the game will grieve for him for a long time, as will his family. I just hope his great work on and off the field will not be forgotten because of his bizarre actions.