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Monday, November 14, 2011

Ex-Somerset captain Roebuck dies

 Roebuck was a Somerset stalwart for many years Former Somerset captain Peter Roebuck has been found dead at a hotel in South Africa, where he was was covering Australia's Test series. He was 55.

South African police told Reuters a "cricket commentator committed suicide" but would not disclose his identity until next of kin had been informed.

Opening batsman Roebuck led Somerset for much of the 1980s, scoring at least 1,000 runs nine times in 12 seasons.

After retiring from the game, he moved to Australia and became a broadcaster.

Continue reading the main story
The death of Peter Roebuck leaves the grass less green and cricket without its most effective investigative journalist

Tony Greig Former England captain

He wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Cricinfo website and quickly became as respected in the field of journalism as he was as a player.

Roebuck, whose straw hat made him instantly recognisable in the press box, had been working for the Herald and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) during Australia's Test series against South Africa.

Numerous cricket personalities took to Twitter to leave their tributes to Roebuck.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew tweeted: "My God. Just heard about Peter Roebuck. Loved working with him. Incisive. Erudite. Funny. Don't know the full story."

Former England captain and now commentator Tony Greig wrote: "The death of Peter Roebuck leaves the grass less green and cricket without its most effective investigative journalist."

Another former England cricketer turned journalist Derek Pringle added: "Peter Roebuck was a tortured, driven soul, but his suicide still comes as a shock. Cricket has lost its most erudite idealist."

Continue reading the main story Date of birth: 6 March 1956Domestic team: Somerset 1974-1991 First-class debut: 21 August 1974 Somerset v WarwickshireMatch stats: 335 first-class matches, 17,558 runs at 37.27, 33 centuries

ABC's Craig Norenbergs described the news of Roebuck's passing as "incredibly sad".

He added: "He was an integral part of the [ABC] Grandstand commentary team, apart from being a magnificent print journalist.

"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."

In a statement released by Cricket Australia, the governing body's chief executive officer James Sutherland paid tribute to Roebuck.

"Peter was a familiar face around Australian cricket who had been with the team only hours before his sudden death," he said.

"He bought particular insight to his commentary based on his lengthy experience as a first-class cricketer and captain, and combined that with a singular flair for the written and spoken word.

"He spoke his mind frankly and while one didn't necessarily always have to agree, you always respected what he had to say."

Roebuck made his debut for Somerset in 1974, going on to make 335 first-class appearances for the county and scoring 17,558 runs at an average of 37.27. He was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1988.

His tenure as Somerset captain was overshadowed by a spectacular fallout with his predecessor Sir Ian Botham. In 1986, Roebuck sanctioned the replacement of West Indian greats Sir Vivian Richards and Joel Garner with New Zealander Martin Crowe, an act which Botham never forgave him for, joining Worcestershire shortly afterwards.

Roebuck retired from first-class cricket in 1991 but went on to captain Devon between 1993-1999 and 2001-2002. He led the county to an unprecedented four successive Minor Counties Championship titles between 1994-97.

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