My interest in cricket led me, for many years, to listen to Peter Roebuck broadcasting cricket matches, and to find cricketing articles on his homepage. Also, on his homepage were articles written by his website editor, Callum Twomey. Though there were two authors, their articles were in agreement, as one would expect them to be.

I was particularly interested in what was put on the website about the 2008 Australia versus India test match at the SCG. On day one of the match, the first article appeared: Callum Twomey uploaded his "Ponting graduates to top of the class." Peter Roebuck's then uploaded his articles, virtually one each day, his last being "Time to sack Ponting."

I was shocked to read this last item as it was out of character with the others, none of which was negative to Ricky Ponting. I could hardly believe what I was reading. It was the opposite of what I expected Peter Roebuck to be writing and had gotten used to over the years.

A few other visitors to the website, apparently as flabbergasted as I was, commented online. But then, in a very short time, Peter Roebuck's website disappeared from the Internet.

Ponting — did the truth lie on Roebuck's homepage?

On the 2nd January 2008, Callum Twomey who was Peter Roebuck's website editor, uploaded an article to Roebuck's homepage that he (Twomey) had written in praise of Ricky Ponting. It was entitled "Ponting graduates to top of the class."

That same day, the Australia versus India test match began at the SCG. Australia won that match in spectacular style when Michael Clarke took the last three wickets in five balls. That win brought up Australia's 16th win in a row, but their 20th win since their last loss.

On the 8th January, two days after the test match, Peter Roebuck, a cricket expert and columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, wrote Arrogant Ponting must be fired. He added the same article to his website but under the title "Time to sack Ponting."

Roebuck's and Twomey's articles, diametrically opposed, appeared on Roebuck's homepage: Some who had read both drew attention to this conflict and commented on the Internet, but before more readers could read and compare them, Peter Roebuck's website had vanished!

Roebuck was made aware of the clash of opinions. (By the way, if I had known his phone number I would have told him). Presumably, he sought an instant solution. He could not delete his article from the newspapers, and so resorted to the obvious: he deleted his website from the Internet. Those who had read Twomey's article might remember vaguely what he had written but now nothing could be recalled with exactitude.

If Callum Twomey has a copy of his article, he could not prove it was ever on Peter Roebuck's homepage, or even that it had been written before the website's closure. He could do nothing about it – it was gone, forever.

Some weeks later, Peter Roebuck's website resurfaced on the Internet, but without "Ponting graduates to top of the class." and without "Time to sack Ponting" and cricket hardly noted.

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It seems evident Twomey "Ponting graduates to top of the class." existed on Roebuck's homepage without Roebuck's knowledge. That is understandable. Twomey, being the website editor, perhaps knew how to run the website more effectively than Roebuck, enabling him to keep the website up-to-date as Roebuck would have wished and with a free hand to do so without the need to contact Roebuck for approval. In fact, Twomey, during his normal maintenance of Roebuck's homepage, wrote several articles and set them alongside the many dozens of Roebuck's articles and their titles listed on the homepage menu.

Callum Twomey's "Ponting graduates to top of the class." was ever only mentioned in a couple of places on the Internet. One was berserk blogger who commented:
I find it difficult to accept that Peter Roebuck would allow someone with a view so different from his to publish it on his website, right under his nose.
Twomey never put anything on Roebuck's homepage that was the opposite or different from Roebuck's view. Likely Roebuck and Twomey were pretty much in agreement in their cricketing opinions, such that if Twomey put anything on the website it was with the complete agreement of Roebuck and, in effect, also be expressing Roebuck's opinion.

Consider the likely opinion each held of Ponting. Ponting had had a remarkable succession of wins and one can imagine Roebuck and Twomey discussed Ponting and what he had done in relation to the Australian team for the last few years. It is hard to imagine they would have diametrically opposite views as to Ponting's place in Australian cricket. In other words, Roebuck likely had the self-same opinion of Ponting as had Twomey. Twomey's "Ponting graduates to top of the class." would have complied precisely with Roebuck's viewpoint or, to put it the other way around, Roebuck would have agreed with Twomey, if he had read the article! Why, then, did Roebuck write an article that disagreed with Twomey and, in effect, seemed to disagree with his own view? Sounds weird! Here's what we find: There were controversial things about the test match, such as poor umpiring, that irritated Roebuck and not surprisingly he wrote about them. His "Rotten match from start to finish." appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, 7th January, the day after the test match. He barely mentioned Ponting and nothing in the least derogatory: Next day, the 8th January, The headlines read "Arrogant Ponting must be fired." This savagely attacked Ponting in particular and the Australian team in general. It was a complete contrast to yesterday's report that was typical of several other cricket writers' reports.

Why didn't Roebuck publish his Ponting denunciation on the Monday instead of his comparatively mild appraisal of the test match? From the extent of the article, one would think his annoyance with Ponting would have been growing for many months, not just the last few days, that by the end of the test match on Sunday had risen to contempt. Despite what was in his mind, he wrote nothing negative about Ponting on Monday the 7th, but on Tuesday the 8th, lashed out ferociously and demanded he be fired. It doesn't make sense that he didn't publish his anti-Ponting diatribe as soon as possible, so why not on Monday the 7th?

Answer: Roebuck's "Arrogant Ponting must be fired" was a fiction. His web version of it was, therefore, also a fiction. It was a complete contrast to all of the other articles, both Roebuck's and Twomey's, on the website. There ain't nuthin' else like it. Why did he write it? Who knows?

"Ponting graduates to top of the class" held the facts in which Roebuck truly believed but he was unaware of its existence on his website, and its capacity to expose his phony baloney.

Roebuck uploaded "Time to sack Ponting" to his website on Tuesday the 8th January. It was the 6th article he had added since the start of the test match. Twomey had put "Ponting graduates to top of the class." on the website, on the 2nd January, when the test match started. Roebuck must have been unaware of Twomey's article, else would not have uploaded "Time to sack Ponting". Here is a list of pages added since the start of the test match: "Time to sack Ponting" was the last page added. The website was scrapped very shortly after. Had Roebuck known Twomey's article existed on his website he surely would not have published his newspaper article. The present links are to articles on a website dedicated to the memory of Peter Roebuck.
Jim Maxwell in his autobiographic "The Sound of Summer" comments:
... Peter and I were great mates. ... I knew there were unknowns with Pete, but maybe there were bits I didn't have a clue about. ... Sometimes he would get his teeth a bit too close to the bone or get too excited, and sometimes we would say 'wait and see what happens in the game, don't go too early', but he would get a bee in his bonnet and usually couldn't be stopped. The time he called for Ricky Ponting's sacking after the so-called Monkey Gate test was a perfect example.
What can the public, and particularly we who love the game of cricket, make of this?

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