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Tony Greig dies: Former England cricket captain passes away after of heart attack

Former England cricket captain and TV commentator Tony Greig dies of a heart attack at 66

PUBLISHED:

08:33 GMT, 29 December 2012

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UPDATED:

09:33 GMT, 29 December 2012

Former England captain and television commentator Tony Greig has died of a heart attack at the age of 66 after being diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.

South Africa-born Greig, who played 58 Tests for England, was initially diagnosed with bronchitis seven months ago, with further tests showing a lesion at the base of his right lung.

He became synonymous with world cricket as a commentator for Australian television network Channel Nine following his retirement.

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

'Beloved Tony Greig, former England cricket captain, has passed away today at the age of 66,' a Channel Nine statement read.

'Initially diagnosed with bronchitis in May, the condition lingered and testing revealed he had lung cancer.'

Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20.

He finished playing for England at the age of 30 to take up a position in Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket competition, where he was one of the star recruits.

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

The Channel Nine statement continued: '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.

'To his family and friends we pass on our best wishes.'

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

Greig, a right-handed middle-order batsman and medium-fast seamer, made his Test debut for England against Australia in 1972, and captained the national team from 1975-1977 after succeeding Mike Denness as skipper.

He lived in Sydney from the late 1970s and commentated on cricket for Channel Nine for 33 years.

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Reports in Australia today indicated Greig suffered a heart attack at his home in Sydney and died around 1345 AEDT (0245 GMT).

'He was rushed into St Vincent's hospital. The staff of the emergency department worked on Mr Greig to no avail,' St Vincent's spokesman David Faktor was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

WORLD OF CRICKET UNITES TO PAY TRIBUTE TO GREIG

England opener, Nick Compton: 'Sad day – RIP Tony Greig a fantastic player and a good man, loved his commentary was one of the best! Cricket world will miss u.'

Legendary Aussie fast bowler, Brett Lee: 'OMG Poor Tony Greig. I feel so sad and shocked right now. Can't believe it.'

England wicketkeeper, Matt Prior: 'Can't believe one of my heroes Tony Greig has passed away. One of the greatest voices in cricket and will be sorely missed. #RIPGreigy.'

England all-rounder, Luke Wright: 'Gutted to hear that Tony Greig has passed away. A legend on and off the field. Our thoughts are with his family and friends #RIPGreigy.'

Australia captain Michael Clarke on www.cricket.com.au: 'I was only speaking with Tony a couple of days ago so news of his passing is absolutely devastating.

“Tony has a long and decorated history with international cricket both as a player and commentator and cricket will be much poorer for his loss.

“Personally, he has also been a great mentor for me, providing great advice through the good times and the bad.'

Former Australian paceman Glen McGrath: My thoughts are with Tony Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig'

Long-serving Nine Network cricket commentator and former Australia captain Richie Benaud recalled Greig's 'fearless' reaction to the English public following his decision to join the Packer team in 1977.
'There was an enormous amount of pressure on him,' Benaud told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'He was captain of England at the time and played against Australia at Lord's. The English people turned against him.

'He wasn't just a fearless cricketer but a fearless thinker as well. He would not just jump in boots first, but it wouldn't matter how much pressure it put on him, he would stick with it.'

Former Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee told the same publication: 'Tony was a tough opponent who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win.

'We will not forget the way he stirred the viewers in a similar vein to the way he did to opposition teams.'

ICC chief executive David Richardson: 'This is extremely sad news for cricket and the ICC send their condolences to Tony's family and in particular his wife Vivian.

'Tony played a significant part in shaping modern cricket as a player in the 1970s and then provided millions of cricket lovers with a unique insight as a thoughtful and knowledgeable commentator – primarily for the Nine Network in Australia.

'I met with him on several occasions during the recent ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka where he was a senior commentator for our broadcast partner ESS.

'He was also a regular visitor to the ICC offices in Dubai when commentating for Ten Sports.

'I am sure that I will not be alone in saying that he and his wise words will be missed by cricketers, administrators and spectators around the world.

'His figures in Test matches show that he was one of the leading all-rounders of his generation with a batting average of above 40 and a bowling average around 32.'

Lance Armstrong reputation is done – Des Kelly Daily Mail column

Really, what are these people who support Lance Armstrong on

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 13 October 2012

So who else knew There were too many people involved; too many mouths open and too much money was in play for this to remain a genuine secret for so long.

There must have been people in positions of power within the sport who had knowledge of what Lance Armstrong was up to long before this damning dossier was released.

Dragging the proof into the public domain was a difficult task, but only because it was hampered by what has all the appearances of an institutional cover-up, a co-ordinated conspiracy and the propagation of a huge lie that extends way beyond the disgraced rider’s circle of team-mates.

Disgraced: Lance Armstrong led 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme'

Disgraced: Lance Armstrong led 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme'

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Of course people knew. Armstrong’s team used to sing a song about the drug use, for heaven’s sake. His fellow rider at the US Postal Service team, David Zabriskie, revealed how he would adapt the words to Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze when they were in meetings or on the bus.

‘EPO all in my veins,
Lately things just don’t seem the same.
Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why,
’Scuse me while I pass this guy.’

The bigger joke is that cycling tried to pretend the scandal wasn’t happening, or did they think it was too big a risk to bring Armstrong down

It is certainly difficult not to laugh at the idea that the Union Cycliste Internationale governing body once accepted 78,000 from Armstrong for the ‘development of drug-testing equipment’. Seriously, what were these people on Were they stupid

There were others prepared to ignore the obvious. After the coruscating United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation into Armstrong landed with an almighty thud, his key sponsor rushed out a statement in less time than it would have taken for the rider to empty a syringe into a vein.

It said: ‘Nike continues to support Lance.’

That’s right. Despite the extraordinary amount of evidence, despite the fact that former team-mates and colleagues provided more than 1,000 pages of detail on his doping, Armstrong’s commercial backers were still there, putting an arm around his shoulder.

In doing so, they gave a whole new meaning to their company’s advertising slogan: ‘Just Do It’.

This is how sport tries to protect itself, with shrugs, tacit acceptance, blanket denials and intimidation.

The head of USADA, Travis Tygart, received three death threats during the Armstrong probe, all currently being investigated by the FBI.

Two journalists at the vanguard of
exposing the culture of doping in cycling, and Armstrong in particular,
have been chased to court and harassed.

In one legal action, UCI president Pat
McQuaid and ‘honorary president’ Hein Verbruggen are seeking full-page
apologies from newspapers in Britain, France and Switzerland.

We got you: Nike, one of Armstrong's main sponsors released a statement confirming their support

We got you: Nike, one of Armstrong's main sponsors released a statement confirming their support

We got you: Nike, one of Armstrong's main sponsors released a statement confirming their support

This is the same Verbruggen, a current International Olympic Committee member, who said in May 2011: ‘Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never.’

The UCI should be issuing full-page apologies, not asking for them. They should be throwing open the doors and hidden files, not silencing their critics.

Were Armstrong’s ploys to avoid out-of-competition testing ignored Was he tipped off beforehand about testers’ visits

There is an oft-quoted statistic that Armstrong passed 500 tests. In fact, he was asked for blood on around 260 occasions — and it is known he returned positive results on more than one occasion. But the rider, his team and the authorities ‘explained’ them away at the time.

Armstrong is finished now. His reputation is done. But the UCI must be called to account, too.

How did the US agency gather such a comprehensive mass of evidence when the supposed governing body could not — or would not

There are two obvious views. The UCI
knew what was happening and yet failed to act. Or they did not know and
so they are incompetent. Either way, they must be considered unfit for
purpose and those in charge should have already handed in their
resignations.

Was Armstrong’s drug-taking vastly
different to most of the leading riders of his generation Yes, he
survived seemingly terminal cancer and then set about raising an
extraordinary amount of money to help fellow sufferers.

The people his foundation has helped will not care, but that cannot exonerate his behaviour in this scandal.

What is peculiar is the idea that this
has all come as a shock inside cycling. People outside the sport have a
right to be amazed, but Armstrong’s activities became common knowledge
in the peloton.

Pat Mcquaid, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale

Hein Verbruggen

In denial: UCI president Pat McQuaid and ‘honorary president’ Hein Verbruggen are seeking full-page apologies from newspapers in Britain, France and Switzerland

Yet everyone is talking about how the sport is ‘moving on’ and ‘looking forward, not back’. To listen to Team Sky chief David Brailsford, the man who boasted his outfit would be scrupulously clean and use a zero-tolerance policy on drugs, this was all a blinding revelation to him.

‘The more you read, the more the jaw drops,’ he said. ‘Armstrong was one of the first cyclists that maybe transcended the sport. It was an amazing thing, so to now find out what was behind it is disappointing.’

Brailsford says he only found out now.

But Canadian Michael Barry was at Team Sky. The same Barry that used to ride alongside Armstrong. The same Barry was named in the USADA report confessing to years of EPO and testosterone use within Armstrong’s team.

Barry claims he stopped doping in
2006, before he joined Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky in 2009. But since
he lied beforehand it’s up to you whether you believe him now.
Coincidentally, one month before the damning USADA report was issued,
Barry retired from Team Sky.

At least Britain’s Tour de France
champion, Wiggins, admitted that, while he was shocked by the scale of
evidence, he was not by the facts themselves. ‘I’m not surprised by it —
I had a good idea what is going on,’ he said.

It’s all a bit of a puzzle, isn’t it
Wiggins says he knew what Armstrong was up to. Ex- team-mate Barry
certainly knew. Brailsford says otherwise and insists that Barry lied to
him about past doping. Someone’s certainly gullible. As long as it’s
not you or me.

The Team Sky website was still
carrying an official statement about Barry’s retirement on Thursday,
saying: ‘He was a founding member of Team Sky when he signed at the end
of 2009, and over the last three seasons has set an example to the rest
of the squad with his positive attitude, unwavering commitment to the
cause, and wealth of cycling knowledge.’

Seventh heaven: Armstrong was considered one of the greatest sportsmen of his generation

Seventh heaven: Armstrong was considered one of the greatest sportsmen of his generation

There is no doubting his knowledge, but we might argue about the wisdom of using the word ‘positive’ in the circumstances.

Barry himself added: ‘Through my 14-year professional career I’ve been fortunate to race with many of the top teams. From my first coaches and club-mates, to Dave Brailsford and my Team Sky team-mates, I’ve had the opportunity to race and learn from many of the best.’

Ah yes. He learned a lot. He learned how to cheat. The page has disappeared now. This is all very uncomfortable for Sky and Brailsford. As was the recently terminated association with Dr Geert Leinders, a man with a murky past in cycling.

But history is being wiped away. We’re all ‘moving forward’, apparently. Yes, it’s better now. There’s nothing to see here any more, so move along. Can we believe that I think Hendrix had it right without any need to change his lyrics.

‘Purple haze all in my eyes
Don’t know if it’s day or night
You’ve got me blowin’, blowin’ my mind,
Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time’

Thou shalt not upset the FA

The Football Association plans to issue players with a ‘code of
conduct’. You will know this, since I believe it has already been on the
back pages at least three times this year.

Whenever anything awkward or untoward happens in the international camp,
someone at the FA mentions that football’s commandments will be brought
down from Mount Bernstein soon, as if that is going to make everything
suddenly clear.

How long does it take to tell players not to behave like, to coin a
phrase, ‘a bunch of t***s’ Monks in medieval times produced illuminated
manuscripts faster than this list of dos and don’ts . . .

Toe the line: Ashley Cole was the latest England player to land himself hot water with football authorities

Toe the line: Ashley Cole was the latest England player to land himself hot water with football authorities

Luckily, I have obtained an early leaked copy. It says:

Do not sleep with a team-mate’s partner or wife
Do not racially abuse another player
Do not sell on any perks you may receive as a result of your international call-up
Do not park in any disabled parking bay
Do not get drunk or abusive in public

The document is still being drafted, but the working title is ‘The Book of John’. I can’t think why.

Wronga: Newcastle's new sponsorship deal hasn't gone done well with the supporters

Wronga: Newcastle's new sponsorship deal hasn't gone done well with the supporters

Money talks.. and turns the air blue

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew believes the sponsorship money
provided by the company dubbed a legal loan shark, Wonga.com, can help
push the club into the top four. He intends to motivate the players by
demanding they give 4,214 per cent.

Ash, he's a top gun

Joe Hart offered up a ringing endorsement of Ashley Cole this week.

‘He was very welcoming to me and I’ve noticed he’s like that with a lot
of the young lads,’ said the England goalkeeper. ‘That’s the beauty of
him,’ he added.

Yes, Cole’s traditional ‘hello’ to youngsters is the stuff of legend. A
shot with an air rifle into the thigh of an intern at the training
ground makes them feel right at home.

Catch me if you can

I'll be part of a BBC 5 Live Fighting Talk special in front of a
sell-out crowd at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield at 11am on Saturday.

Afterwards, I will be embarrassing myself even more as Fighting Talk
faces the 606 team in a charity five-a-side match for BBC Children in
Need. If I’m still alive, The Press Pass is on talkSPORT on Sunday at
6pm..

Wasps 10 Newcastle 14: Falcons win but finish bottom

Wasps 10 Newcastle 14: Falcons win but still finish bottom and face relegation

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UPDATED:

15:54 GMT, 5 May 2012

Newcastle face relegation from the Aviva Premiership despite their crunch basement battle against fellow strugglers Wasps ending with a hard-earned victory.

The Falcons finished bottom by a point following a 22-game regular league season that saw them win just six matches.

They needed a bonus point triumph over 11th-placed Wasps – and also deny their opponents a losing one in the process – but that fanciful script never seriously looked like unfolding at a packed Adams Park.

Despair: Matt Thompson holds his head in his hands after Newcastle finished bottom of the Premiership

Despair: Matt Thompson holds his head in his hands after Newcastle finished bottom of the Premiership

Wasps, relieved to start putting an injury-ravaged campaign behind them, saw wing Christian Wade claim his ninth league try of the campaign, while fly-half Nicky Robinson added a conversion and penalty.

Centre James Fitzpatrick touched down for the visitors midway through the second period, a try that Jimmy Gopperth converted, yet a game suffocated by tension had no chance of breaking into the free-scoring spectacular that Newcastle needed.

Even when scrum-half Peter Stringer touched down late on, with Gopperth adding the extras, there was no obvious sign of any further late drama.

Falcons' fate now rests on the outcome of this season's second-tier Championship title race, which will not be concluded until May 30.

Bristol, London Welsh, Bedford and Cornish Pirates are all contesting silverware, although it is thought only Bristol of that quartet categorically meet Premiership entry criteria.

Battle at the bottom: Richard Haughton is tackled by two Newcastle players

Battle at the bottom: Richard Haughton is tackled by two Newcastle players

Newcastle were crowned champions of England 14 years ago after a Rob Andrew-led rugby revolution on Tyneside that was bankrolled by Sir John Hall's millions.

But all they can hope for now is that Bristol come unstuck, with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union set to issue a statement on promotion eligibility later this month.

The smart money will be on Dean Richards – interim boss Gary Gold's successor next term – inheriting a squad destined to play Championship rugby.

That will not, though, be an unfamiliar experience for the former England number eight, whose three-year worldwide coaching ban imposed following the infamous Bloodgate saga expires this summer.

Richards led Harlequins back into English rugby's top flight at the first time of asking in 2006, and Newcastle should encounter few problems making a rapid return.
But that prospect will not ease the pain for Gold and his players, who are now set to go their separate ways.

Stop there: Billy Vunipola of Wasps is tackled and loses the ball

Stop there: Billy Vunipola of Wasps is tackled and loses the ball

South African Gold is poised to succeed Sir Ian McGeechan at Bath, heading up a coaching team that could also include former England defence coach Mike Ford and ex-London Irish prop Neal Hatley.

In the end, Newcastle came up short, despite posting a second successive Premiership away win that followed their victory at Gloucester three weeks ago.

Ultimately, it was simply too big a task for them as Wasps, inspired by the earlier-than-expected return to action of their captain Marco Wentzel, finally banished their relegation fears.

Wentzel led a Wasps team that featured a rejigged back-row that saw Joe Launchbury and Sam Jones fill the flanker positions, but Newcastle were unchanged from the side beaten 9-3 at home by Saracens last time out.

Anguish: Newcastle Captain James Hudson holds his head in his hands after Newcastle finished bottom of the Premiership

Anguish: Newcastle Captain James Hudson holds his head in his hands after Newcastle finished bottom of the Premiership

Rival goalkickers Robinson and Gopperth were both wide with early long-range penalty attempts, and they proved the most notable scoring opportunities during a forgettable first 30 minutes.

Wasps lost scrum-half Charlie Davies with a hamstring injury – Nic Berry replaced him – but the Falcons established territorial control as the opening half drew to its close.

Despite looking threatening with ball in hand, Newcastle lacked the finishing touch, and Wasps took advantage when Robinson landed an angled 37th-minute penalty.

And there was worse to come for the visitors during injury time as full-back Richard Haughton's slicing break from deep inside his own half scattered Newcastle's defence.

Robinson acted as a link man, and then floated a superb pass to Wade, who sprinted clear for his eighth try of the league campaign.

Robinson slotted the touchline conversion, and Newcastle were effectively down and out in terms of their pre-match target, trailing 10-0.

Wasps prop Ben Broster was sin-binned by referee Wayne Barnes for a technical offence early in the second period, but Newcastle again sacrificed a kickable penalty for an attacking scrum.

And such an approach was rewarded when Fitzpatrick crashed over for a try that required confirmation from television match official Graham Hughes, before Gopperth added the extras.

Stringer then crossed in the final seconds, with Gopperth converting to give Newcastle the win they required, but with insufficient tries, to leave them facing an uncertain future.

Jonny Bairstow proves his worth as England level T20 series with emphatic victory over Pakistan

Bairstow proves worth as England level T20 series with emphatic victory over Pakistan

What a difference two days makes. Jonny Bairstow, frozen with terror as England slipped to defeat here on Thursday, produced a nerveless maiden international half-century to inspire his side to a series-levelling victory against Pakistan.

His circumspect, boundary-free innings of 22 off 21 balls was arguably the main contributory factor towards the eight-run defeat in the opening match of this Twenty20 series. But Bairstow, 22, looked a player transformed, with his mind as well as his arms freed from the straitjacket of self-doubt which afflicted him so acutely just 48 hours earlier.

It was a reprisal of his role in Cardiff last September when, on debut, he announced himself on the international stage with a precocious and ferocious one-day innings of 41 against India.

Making the grade: Jonny Bairstow hit his maiden international half-century

Making the grade: Jonny Bairstow hit his maiden international half-century

This time, Bairstow’s bat, from which
60 runs flowed in 57 balls, was the catalyst behind a dominant
all-round England victory by 38 runs, which sets up a series decider in
Abu Dhabi.

England hope that game will sharpen
their competitive instincts ahead of the defence of their World Twenty20
title in Sri Lanka this September, with captain Stuart Broad saying:
‘We don’t have a huge amount of cricket before then. We’ve got to use
every game before then and we can learn a lot along the way.

England v Pakistan: scoreboard

‘But, more importantly, we’ve got to
win this series. Monday is a huge game for us, we can put ourselves
under the pressure of a World Cup scenario. It’s a must-win because we
want to go home with a trophy.’

Broad was full of praise for
Bairstow. ‘Jonny showed a lot of character,’ he said. ‘He also showed
experience beyond his years to make sure we got a strong total.’

Bairstow said little of note after the match, but it would have been hard to top the statement he had made with the bat earlier.

Encouraging start: Kevin Pietersen departs after making 17

Encouraging start: Kevin Pietersen departs after making 17

England were 49 for three in the
seventh over when he entered the fray, the experienced campaigners Kevin
Pietersen, Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan all gone.

But Bairstow took just four balls to
find the boundary, a sweet drive through mid-wicket off Shahid Afridi,
before serving notice of what was to come in the spinner’s next over,
disdainfully swatting a straight six over long-on.

That moved him on to 17 off 10 balls
and England on to 72 for three in the 10th over. Yet Craig Kieswetter,
who played well for his 24-ball 31, perished three balls after that
monstrous boundary, caught by Umar Gul at long-off.

Fin-tastic: Steven Finn runs out Saeed Ajmal to confirm England's victory

Fin-tastic: Steven Finn runs out Saeed
Ajmal to confirm England's victory

Samit Patel, run out after a direct
hit by Saeed Ajmal at square leg, and Jos Buttler, bowled by Gul
attempting his trademark scoopshot, came and went.

But Bairstow was a reassuring
constant for England, reaching his 50 off 42 balls. He saved his best
until last when Gul, a supreme exponent of death bowling, was treated
with the disdain of a park player, as he struck a towering six off the
penultimate ball of an innings which concluded with England setting
their opponents 151 to win.

The writing was on the wall for Pakistan in the second ball of their reply when Steven Finn removed Mohammad Hafeez.

Boom and bust: Shahid Afridi hits out

Boom and bust: Shahid Afridi hits out

Five deliveries later, Jade Dernbach
sent Asad Shafiq on his way with an impressive catch off his own bowling
to reduce Pakistan to two for two.

It was a position from which they
never recovered as Finn, finishing with figures of three for 30, and
Graeme Swann, with two for 17, helped dismiss Pakistan for 112 in the
19th over.