Cricket and suicide: Is there a connection?

Peter Roebuck, the cricket journalist and former Somerset captain, committed suicide at the weekend, amid unconfirmed reports that he was being questioned by police over sexual assault allegations.

Chartered psychologist Phil Johnson researched cricket suicides earlier this year as part of a book chapter on depression in sport. "Cricket stands out amongst all other sports as having the highest suicide rate, especially in Australia and South Africa."

In an interview for the chapter, the former England wicketkeeper Jack Russell said : "It affects young players, but mostly retired players." Roebuck was one such retired player, and had claimed that he had established a satisfying career after his playing days ended.

Ironically, in 1990 Roebuck contributed the foreword to David Frith’s study of suicide among cricketers  By His Own Hand, writing: "Cricketers are vulnerable because the game attracts sensitive men of aesthetic temperament, the very men who are, in the end, least well served by it."

By His Own Hand was recently republished under the title 'Silence of the Heart: Cricket Suicides'.