The police is set to speak to 16 youngsters, who were sponsored and supported by deceased cricket writer Peter Roebuck. The youngsters lived with Roebuck in his eight-bedroom house in South Africa.

Aged 18 to 26, the men are mostly Zimbabwean and many came from a home for abandoned boys in the country's capital of Harare.

Roebuck is believed to have jumped to death from the sixth floor of his hotel room in Cape Town. Earlier investigators collected semen samples from a bedsheet at the Southern Sun hotel in Cape Town to determine whether Roebuck sexually assaulted Zimbabwean Itai Gondo. He is alleged to have left DNA on to a bedspread while attempting to have sex with Gondo. Later Gondo was taken to a Cape Town hospital by South African police following Roebuck's death to provide DNA and blood samples to a state pathologist.

As far as I am concerned he took his own life because he didn't want to face the law, Gondo told a South African newspaper. Gondo said he was having nightmares and felt suicidal and shared the whole incident with a friend. The more I thought through it, I realised I wanted my day in court so I could move on, he said.

At the same time Tatenda Chadya, who is one of several young men whom Roebuck supported in his adult orphanage in South Africa, said the claims made by Gondo were unbelievable. He just wanted to see people's dreams come true. He was a father to us, Chadya was quoted as saying in the Timeslive.

Roebuck, who after retiring from cricket in 1991 turned to writing and broadcasting, was one of the most respected and widely read commentators in cricket.