Roebuck was the captain of an English country cricket team, who then moved to Australia to become a cricket commentator. But he did not like Australians. Some of his newspaper columns read very oddly, as they combine the usual kind of sporting analysis with hate filled commentary against native born white Australians.
Here is one example (in which native born Australians are termed "lamingtons" which are a kind of cake popular in Australia):
AUSTRALIA must not be waylaid by nauseating nationalists convinced that the defeat in Perth was caused not by a combination of absent friends and wayward bowling but by a sudden bout of politeness. Nor must it take heed of backslappers arguing that India's celebrations and appealing at the WACA Ground matched Australia's excesses in Sydney.
That is to confuse joy with rage. Likewise, the umpiring was acceptable and even-handed. Only lamingtons imagine otherwise. The game is up for that lot. It is time to move on. It is debatable whether people born in this country should be allowed to vote. It is no achievement to emerge from a womb. They could just as well be in Winnipeg. Australia is best loved by its settlers.
Similarly in an column titled "Lily-livered lilywhites have held cricket back" Roebuck complained that,
Over the years, Australian cricket has been dominated by players of Anglo-Saxon extraction.
But Roebuck thought that there was a progress toward enlightenment in Australia, in which Anglo-Saxons were on the way out:
Australia is advancing. A bright-eyed 17-year-old girl is making her Test debut in Bowral. Aboriginal sides from every corner of the country are taking part in the Imparja Cup in Alice Springs. And a government led by a Mandarin speaker has just issued a formal apology to the first tenants of this vast, hostile continent. It is all part of the same process, a long-awaited and stiffly resisted move towards enlightenment.
Roebuck seemed to get some of his identity from turning against his own tradition. It did not make him a happy man. Those writing his obituaries have struggled to portray him as a man with an anchored sense of self. In one column, he is described in these terms:
Peter Roebuck has jumped to his death in Cape Town, leaving behind the last great mystery of a complex and often tortured life that was full of questions and very few answers...
His life often appeared a long, lonely and ultimately futile attempt to find fulfilment, with plenty of controversy along the way, notably his suspended jail sentence 10 years ago after he admitted caning three young cricketers he had offered to coach.
It was that unedifying court case in Taunton that led many to question Roebuck’s motives when he helped fund the education of promising young cricketers, often providing accommodation for them at his homes in Sydney and Pietermaritzburg...
I worked briefly with Roebuck 12 years ago at the Sunday Telegraph and I have to say I found him the rudest, most prickly and unhelpful colleague I have ever experienced.
Facts rarely featured in his work. But I never got to know him properly and those who did spoke very differently on Sunday.
‘Scatty and focused, brilliant and fallible, muscular yet incredibly fragile, Peter Roebuck was too many men rolled into an irreplaceable one,’ wrote his friend Peter English in a brilliant tribute on the website Cricinfo, to which Roebuck contributed.
‘Individuals like him often sit on the outside, making choices and then fretting over the consequences.
‘In the end it was a wonder he lasted so long, dealing with demons and demonising which shadowed him during his playing days and forever after. Deep down, I think, he knew he would determine his end.’
I can't think of Roebuck as an admirable man. He cut himself off from some of the healthier and sustaining attachments in life with his disloyalty to his own kind.
[Readers: I'd ask that comments be restrained in nature in the light of Roebuck's recent death]