Noted cricket writer Roebuck commits suicide

Cape Town: Peter Roebuck, widely respected cricket writer with a large following in India, committed suicide here by reportedly jumping from the sixth floor of a hotel in mysterious circumstances. The 55-year-old British national, who captained Somerset in the 1980s, was in this country to cover the current series between South Africa and Australia.

According to the Western Cape South Africa police, the incident occurred last night around 9:15 pm local time. The writer died on impact. There were reports that Roebuck had been spoken to by the police last night after which he appeared to be tense. However, police declined to comment on this.

It was not clear why Roebuck had taken the extreme step but the police said, there were no suspicious circumstances, surrounding his death. The last time Roebuck was in India was during England`s tour of the country last month. Known for his strong opinion, Roebuck who wrote for `Sydney Morning Herald` and other publications including India`s `The Hindu` had demanded the sacking of former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting after fractious Sydney Test match against India in January 2008.

He wrote, "If Cricket Australia cares a fig for the tattered reputation of our national team in our national sport, it will not for a moment longer tolerate the sort of arrogance and abrasive conduct seen from the captain and his senior players over the past few days." The Sydney Test was marred by the racial abuse incident involving India`s off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds. Symonds had alleged that Harbhajan had called him "monkey" but the Indian had denied it.