Peter Roebuck on age

February 27, 2008

When memorable cricket writing comes from Australia, it is usually a product of Gideon Haigh. But on occasion, when he isn’t being smart or snarky in his daily columns, Roebuck comes up with a snorter. Today’s piece in Cricinfo is outstanding for this section alone:

“All batsmen are praised twice in their careers. The first comes after a fellow has stroked a couple of boundaries as a teenager, whereupon he is proclaimed a genius. The second comes 20 years later, when a player long since consigned by even the gentlest critic to the rubbish dump manages to rouse himself sufficiently to push the ball around for an hour. The attraction of both periods is that it is not necessary actually to score any runs, just to look like one might.”

At his best, Roebuck is magical. I remember an instance a few years ago, when Wisden Asia Cricket was around, and it was late. At the time I was editing magazine copy – which I was enthusiastic about because it was like an advance screening – and one night, up came a Roebuck piece on McGrath. The deadlines could wait because this was fabulous writing through and through. It was the piece on McGrath. Rarely do you get stories like that. Funnily enough, a source of entertaining writing was Kamran Abbasi (Bless him for making many production nights merry). And apart from him, Sambit, Bhattacharya, and S Rajesh’s tight match reports, there was nothing else to write about. Pity it had to shut down. I think it was probably the most well-written mag in this country.

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One Response to “Peter Roebuck on age”


  1. Thanks a lot for both those pieces. It is probably worth reading through the pile of work that Roebuck racks up since he makes up for it with the occassional gem.

    And the piece on batsmen had me thinking about one of the batsmen whom I have admired a lot, Damien Martyn. He was hailed as a genius when he started out, got dropped in a match where he top scored. When he came back into the team his batting was a treat to watch, a batsman who has fully understood his game and is in full control of his faculties.

    His knocks when playing in the sub-continent in his only tour over here were a treat. And he retired the instant he figured things were not going for him.

    Nightwatchmen.


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