Former England cricket captain and TV commentator Tony Greig dies of a heart attack at 66
08:33 GMT, 29 December 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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.'