It was desperately sad to read that Peter Roebuck had taken his life but
not so surprising.
I first met him in 1984 when I published at George Allen & Unwin, It Never
Rains. This was his second book and followed on
from Slices of Cricket (1982). Both were critically acclaimed and
commercially successful. He was happier putting pen to paper.
As I had recently lived and played rugby in Bath, I didn't need much of an
excuse to leave London and spend a day there or at Taunton watching
Botham, Richards, Marks and Garner play whilst drinking with Alan Gibson.
Watching Roebuck bat was another matter. A fidget at the wicket, his play
was frequently constipated as though he was wondering why with a first
class honours degree from Cambridge he hadn't found something more
rewarding to occupy his mind. Lesser players have played for England and he
had his chance to shine when he captained an England XI against Holland
but his confidence evaporated and he was overlooked.
After play, we would spend, with his soul mate Vic Marks, an evening
drinking wine and frequently in deep discussion mainly about politics; he
often kidded he would stand for Parliament and win Taunton for the SDP. He
wrote a third book for me called Ashes to Ashes (1987) about England's
triumphant series down under which was even more successful.
I'm not sure any one really knew Roebuck. It is true he was a loner and
liked picking fights. My sense was though he could not come to terms with
his sexuality which haunted him all his life.