The cricketing world is still mourning the death of one of the greatest players to have ever represented England
Former England captain and beloved commentator Tony Greig has died at the age of 66 after suffering a heart attack.
Greig, who represented England in 58 Test matches between 1972 and 1977, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October last year.
Greig first fell sick during the middle of last year when he battled through a nasty bout of bronchitis, and while commentating in the United Arab Emirates and during the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, he was sent to undergo more tests, which revealed a lesion in his right lung.
The former captain was unable to resume his normal duties with Channel Nine during the Australia South Africa Test series after being told that he had cancer.
Greig was born and raised in South Africa before moving to England, where he excelled in the domestic leagues and went on to play for the national team.
Since his retirement from international cricket, Greig has been a regular commentator on Channel Nine and has also done a lot of broadcasting work overseas as well.
During the first day of the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane, Channel Nine had the opportunity of talking to Greig live from his house in Sydney, where he said: “It’s been an incredible, very short journey so far. You guys will all face it one day I’m sure.
“You’ve no idea how much one misses getting to the cricket on a day like today. When you’ve been doing it for 33 years it’s absolutely unbelievable. Even my little bloke who came home from school today was almost ‘dad what are you doing at home, you shouldn’t be here’, so it takes a little bit of getting used to, and I’m sure it’s going to get worse as this Test match goes on.”
Former Australia captain and long-time commentating colleague Bill Lawry noted that Greig’s death was a sad shock, but added that he would never forget how much the former England captain impacted the game.
“World cricket has lost one of its great ambassadors,” Lawry told ESPNcricinfo. “Not only was Tony Greig captain of England, captain of the World Series world team, but he just loved travelling the world to places like Sri Lanka, India, England, Dubai, wherever it was played, Greigy would be there. He’s well known right throughout the world, well loved and respected and cricket has lost one of its all-time greats.
“I know the Channel Nine commentary team is absolutely shattered. He’s been a great friend of mine for 33 years. We knew he was sick but we didn’t realise it was going to be this sudden. It has shocked us all.”
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards stated that Greig’s “illness and too-early death comes as a terrible shock – he will be greatly missed”, while Greig’s most famous nemesis, former Australia pace demon Dennis Lillee described him as “a tough opponent who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win. He had a take-no-prisoners attitude which helped him lead England with flare and toughness.”
Channel Nine also paid tribute to Greig by putting together a documentary of his life, which was summed up with these memorable words: “Tony Greig is a name synonymous with Australian cricket – from his playing days as the English captain we loved to hate, to his senior role in the revolution of World Series Cricket, his infamous car keys in the pitch reports and more than three decades of colourful and expert commentary.”
Greig, who gave the MCC’s Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s in June last year, was surrounded by his family when he died, who thanked the cricketing world for all their support and condolences.