More Important Than Life or Death (2013)
by Peter FitzSimons (Author), Greg Growden (Contributor)
Although not written by Peter Roebuck, this book is included here because it contains several articles written by Peter Roebuck, including his last article. The book contains some of the best sports stories written by Australia’s top sports writers.
The author, Peter FitzSimons, is a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, and is a TV commentator. He was a rugby union player and is passionate about sport and sportswriting.
In It To Win It: The Australian Cricket Supremacy, Allen & Unwin, (2006)
What is it about the Australian cricket team that has propelled them to the top of world cricket?
Australia’s win in the 1987 World Cup in India surprised the cricketing world. There were so few expectations placed on the event that the ABC didn’t even send a commentary team. But what was the factor that made this team special? Was it the Waugh factor? Why have the Australians been able to dominate the world game?
From his long-term vantage point as writer and commentator Roebuck is able not only to paint vivid match-by-match pictures of numerous successes and occasional failures but also to analyse the mental and tactical strength which inspired the long-term success of the Australian team. He puts the last three decades under the microscope, as he looks at the contribution Boon and Border, Waugh and Warnie, McGrath and Gilchrist and many others, have made to the Australian supremacy.
From the era of the Chappells and the early days of World Series Cricket to the best Ashes series ever, Roebuck casts his eye over both the hubris and the hurly burly of Australian cricket.
Review courtesy of allenandunwin.com, where you can also order the book.
It Takes All Sorts: Celebrating Cricket’s Colourful Characters, Allen & Unwin, (2005)
A personal selection of Peter Roebuck’s favourite cricket characters past and present, written in his own inimitable style and from his vantage point as both player and commentator.
In It Takes All Sorts, Peter Roebuck meanders through his 25-year career in reporting cricket, to reveal the people and the personalities who have touched his life and contributed to his life-long passion for the game.
Roebuck provides warts-and-all insights into the comings and goings, greats and not-so-greats, debuts and retirements, the controversies of recent professional cricket and great innings in between. Roebuck has seen it all and isn’t afraid to comment: he’s interviewed Sir (or is that Saint?) Garfield Sobers’ mum, was on the scene (and on the front page) when Gilchrist walked, poked gentle fun at Inzamam’s fielding, and touched many with his account of young Sri Lankan boys playing cricket on a beach in Galle.
Peter Roebuck pulls no punches – whether friend or foe, all his subjects are linked by the great and noble game of cricket and he is not afraid to tell it how he sees it.
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Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh, (autobiography) Allen & Unwin (2004)
Best known to a generation of Australian cricket fans as the incisive, and sometimes controversial, cricketing voice of the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC radio, Peter Roebuck’s own career spanned 25 of the most exhilarating years of world cricket.
From the heyday of the Somerset cricket club to the controversy of the World Series and ten happy years with Devon, Roebuck played alongside some of the true greats of the world game. Viv Richards, Joel Garner, Ian Botham, Martin Crowe and a young Steve Waugh were all team-mates. Considered by some ‘the best cricketer to have never played for England’, he did in fact captain an English team which travelled to Holland. Their emphatic victory in the second Test was completely overshadowed by their shock defeat in the opening game!
A dedicated coach and mentor to young enthusiasts, Roebuck first came across some of Australia’s current crop of cricket superstars as brash young novices at the Academy – Justin Langer, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and a portly young man with the most dangerous spinning finger in the world, one Shane Warne.
In Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh, Peter Roebuck gives his readers an insight into the hitherto very private life of a complex and sometimes troubled man, but one always sustained by his abiding passion for the game of cricket.
To buy a copy of Sometimes I Forgot To Laugh, visit Allen & Unwin: Sometimes I forgot to Laugh.
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Tangled Up In White: Peter Roebuck On Cricket, Hodder & Stoughton, (1992)
ISBN 0-340-56618-3 ISBN 978-0-340-56618-3
In his long experience of playing and reporting cricket the world over, Peter Roebuck has always displayed a characteristic expertise and warmth for the game. Whether he is reporting on schools cricket at Millfield, county cricket at Taunton, or test cricket in Australia, the West Indies and England, his keen wit and captivating style never fail to bring a match to life.
In this half century of his finest writings, the former England cricketer, Somerset opener and captain discusses in depth many of his greatest contemporaries, his evident admiration for these players tempered by a strong critical awareness. Botham, Richards, Hadlee, Gavaskar and Border are among those appraised, as are up-and-coming stars such as Waqar Younis and Allan Donald. In addition, Roebuck treats us to his personal choice for a world eleven, and offers a chapter of maxims about the game he loves.
From Sammy to Jimmy: History of Somerset County Cricket Club, Partridge Press (1991)
ISBN 1-85225-085-2 ISBN 978-1-85225-085-0
In June 1991, Somerset County Cricket Club celebrated a hundred years of first-class cricket, and this official history by the county’s long-serving batsman and former captain is published to mark the centenary. The first recorded Somerset game was played in 1751, since which time the county has produced such cricketing talents as Sammy Woods, Harold Gimblett and, in more modern times, Viv Richards, Martin Crowe and Ian Botham. In the early days, Somerset cricket was in a sorry plight, suffering from a lack of support, insufficient funds and poor results, and its fortunes rose and fell continually. This book charts the progress from the days of hardship to the triumphs of the last 15 years.
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Rupert’s Year (1990)
Peter Roebuck, Somerset County Cricket Club, Benefit Brochure 1990 by Neil Burns
The content of Rupert’s Year is in the process of being added to this website. You can view those pages here:
Great Innings, Blitz (1990)
ISBN 1-85605-121-8, ISBN 978-1-85605-121-7
When cricketers discuss heroic deeds it is nearly always the great innings that inspire the most awe. A truly great innings seems to transcend the game and to capture the essence of the batsman. All the world’s outstanding players have at least once in their careers played an innings that has typified their sheer courage, patience, strength, daring or just pure artistry.
In Great Innings, Peter Roebuck, a brilliant cricket writer, who in a far-from-finished career has already scored thirty first-class centuries himself, presents his selection of the fifty best innings ever played. Drawing on personal reminiscences and contemporary reports, his expert and experienced analysis captures the spirit of their greatness. As each man goes in to bat, Roebuck highlights his particular cricketing qualities, sketches the background to his great innings and recounts, often in the player’s own words, the never-to-be-forgotten action.
For sheer brilliance, he has picked Clive Lloyd’s World Cup-winning century at Lord’s in 1975; Sunny Gavaskar’s fastest Test century, made against the West Indies fast bowlers at Delhi in 1983: and from the past the century in his Test debut in 1896 of that magical batsman Prince Ranji.
The monumental innings are here too, the greatest of them all, Don Bradman making over 300 in a day in a Test at Headingley in 1930; Len Hutton scoring 364 at The Oval in 1938; Hanif’s 16 hour triple century in the West Indies, among many others.
Peter Roebuck’s lively text, supported by scorecards and over 140 dazzling photographs, brings the action back to life and make this book a cricketing treat no enthusiast will want to miss.
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It Sort of Clicks, Ian Botham talking to Peter Roebuck (1986)
ISBN 0-947072-32-2, ISBN 978-0-947072-32-2
It Sort of Clicks is the way Ian Botham describes his own cricketing ability. In the book, he talks frankly to his former county captain about his style of play and his attitude to the game. He discusses the issues of captaincy, intimidatory bowling and the power of the press, as well as talking about the friends he has made and what he expects to do once his playing career is over.
Peter Roebuck joined Somerset at the same time as Botham in 1974 and knows him as well as any professional cricketer. He brings his journalist’s eye and sharp analysis of character to examine what makes Botham such an enigma: the flaws and failings contrasting with the magnificent natural talent and ability.
To bring the story up-to-date, the final chapter looks at Somerset in the aftermath of the sackings of Richards and Garner and Botham’s own decision to join first Queensland and then Worcestershire. Roebuck comments at first hand on what was said to be Botham’s final overseas tour and looks forward to the prospect of facing his former colleague in the coming English season.
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It Never Rains: A Cricketer’s Lot, Unwin (1984)
ISBN 0-04-796096-5 ISBN 978-0-04-796096-3
Peter Roebuck opens for Somerset. He is, therefore, a dressing room colleague of Richards, Botham and Garner and is in an almost unique position as a leading cricket writer while still playing in the first-class game.
It Never Rains is an account of one first-class cricketer’s progress through a season, with an analysis of how his own state of mind varied according to his own and his team’s success or failure. Never before has cricket’s ability to generate personal elation and gloom been so graphically described.
The season in question has plenty of both as the Somerset side took the NatWest Bank Trophy and came second in the John Player League only on a technicality. The other, non glamorous side of the professional cricketer’s life is the effort to whip up enthusiasm on a cold, September afternoon; the interminable cross-country drives; the succession of soulless hotel rooms; the inevitable tensions in a party thrown together away from home.
For Peter Roebuck, the search for perfection is the justification for playing cricket, yet he is clear-sighted enough to know that perfection cannot be attained and he describes with honesty and sensitivity this dilemma, his efforts to resolve it, and how it affected his state of mind throughout the season.
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Slices of Cricket, Unwin (1982)
ISBN 0-04-796088-4, ISBN 978-0-04-796088-8
“Friends”, writes Peter Roebuck “advised me to spice this book up with lots of sex, violence, drugs, booze and the rest, but I have resisted.” Such thrills must be sought elsewhere; what can be found in Slices of Cricket is a collection of writings which at once place this intelligent and talented batsman in the front rank of cricket essayists.
The author’s shrewd eye and ready wit are applied to every aspect of the game as he has experienced it. There are penetrating character studies of his Somerset colleagues, notably Viv Richards, Ian Botham, Sunil Gavaskar and Joel Garner; his accounts of outstanding matches in which he took part, like the 1978 Gillette Cup semi-final against Essex, still make the reader catch the breath with remembered excitement; and his more atmospheric pieces about pre-season training, a Sunday League game and the dressing room on a rainy day ring as true as anything which has ever been written about cricket from the inside.
Above all, the book proves how much Peter Roebuck enjoyed his cricket, whether the setting is Lord’s or Corfu, Barnsley or Fiji, Taunton or Sydney. Slices of Cricket gives every lover of the game a chance to share that enjoyment.