I heart Peter Roebuck

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned how much I adore cricket writer, Peter Roebuck. Mostly it’s cause his over-the-top metaphors and similies crack me up. He funny (and I can never tell whether it’s on purpose or not).

I’m frequently asked why I love the game of cricket so much. It’s a hard question to answer because there are so many answers. One of them has to do with the complex and fascinating history of the game and the countries it’s played in, which Mr Roebuck sums up in his latest piece for the Sydney Morning Herald in a satisfyingly overblown way:

In many respects, cricket is the most unruly of games. Consider its component parts. Ten teams play Test cricket. Two of them have been at loggerheads and sometimes war for 50 years. Two have suffered massacres ignored by the rest of the world, the victims being Ndebele and Tamil. One nation has been bankrupted by a wicked Stalinist, another is ruled by a military dictator. One country is emerging from centuries of racist rule, another lives on the breadline. The West Indies does not even exist. Endlessly frightened Australia is fighting an illegal war and passing disturbing legislation. England is torn between Europe and isolation. Until last week, New Zealand was a haven of sanity.


Oh, and if anyone can tell me why New Zealand is no longer a “haven of sanity”—I’m all ears. Bonus points for anyone who can identify all of the countries mentioned.


  1. da on #

    Winston Peters is Foriegn Minister

  2. da on #

    India, Pakistan, new Zealand, bangladesh, sri lanka, south africa, zimbabwe, west indies (non country), pomyland and oh yes Oz

  3. da on #

    Damn. Got carried away. meant to say who the other six are!

  4. Justine on #

    Da: thanks! Good ole Winston Peters of New Zealand First is NZ’s foreign minister, eh? Well, how, um, nope, appropriate is not the word I’m looking for . . .

    You’ve named all the test-playing countries but not in the order of Mr Roebuck’s references to them. So, those points are still up for grabs, though you’ve made the game somewhat easier!

  5. chrisbarnes on #

    Hi Justine,

    Peter Roebuck is a good read… his columns extend so far beyond the noble game itself…

    As to his references:

    50 years of war: India and Pakistan.
    Ndebele massacre: Zimbabwe.
    Tamil massacre: Sri Lanka.
    Wicked Stalinist: Zimbabwe.
    Military dictator: Pakistan.
    Years of racist rule: South Africa.
    On the breadline: Bangladesh.

  6. niki on #

    she had no choice ! the maori party weren’t interested and the greens didn’t have enough seats. but if you look closely at what she’s done it’s not as mad as it seems. He still has to do what the government says – I think it’s a matter of keeping your enemies closer …

  7. Cheryl on #

    Good to hear Roebuck has found his forte. When he played for Somerset we tended to think at times he was after Boycott’s job as the most boring batsman in England. Of course such a player does have his uses…

  8. Justine on #

    Chris: well done, though given that your an Oz who follows the cricket to be expected. Yeah, Roebuck’s getting bolshier and bolshier, isn’t he?

    Niki: I know and yet . . . Winston Peters!! Foreign minister!!!

    Cheryl: Isn’t he the one who captained England against Holland and lost?

  9. Cheryl on #

    Yep, August 1989. They played two games. Netherlands won the first by 3 runs, but lost the second by 98 runs. A couple of young England hopefuls were in the side. Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart managed to a total of 37 runs between the two of them in the two matches. Stewart was out for a duck in the game England lost.

  10. Justine on #

    And he’s never been allowed to forget it, has he?

    But I shall throw no stones. We did just lose to Bangladesh in a recent one-dayer, didn’t we? That’s up there with losing to Holland.

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