Former England Cricket Captain Tony Greig Dies At Age 66
Former England captain TONY GREIG, one of the architects of cricket's World Series revolution in the '70s, has died at the age of 66 after "suffering a heart attack at his Sydney home on Saturday," according to Ransom & Mehaffey of REUTERS. Greig, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in October, was taken to a Sydney hospital where he died at about 1:45pm local time. A "larger-than-life figure" standing 6-foot-6, South Africa-born Greig was an "outstanding all-rounder" who played 58 tests for England from '72-77, scoring 3,599 runs at 40.43 including eight centuries and claiming 141 wickets at 32.20 each. He was also a brilliant slip fielder, taking 87 catches in test matches. Greig's biggest impact on the game came "after he joined forces in '77 with late Australian businessman KERRY PACKER to set up the breakaway World Series Cricket competition." Media magnate Packer's concept was "aimed at securing cricket broadcast rights" for his Channel Nine in Australia. It "shook up the game's world order by pioneering limited overs matches played at night and turning cricketers into full-time professionals" (REUTERS, 12/29).
SAD NEWS FOR CRICKET: In London, Scyld Berry reported Int'l Cricket Council CEO DAVID RICHARDSON said: “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.” Greig's former teammate GEOFF BOYCOT had "offered him advice about combating cancer after Greig had been diagnosed with it this year." Boycot: "Tony was mentally ready to tackle the disease and prepared for his chemotherapy in the new year. His death has come as a huge shock." The tributes "extended beyond cricketers past and present." Australia Prime Minister JULIA GILLARD and Sports Minister KATE LUNDY released a joint statement saying: "Australia has lost one of the iconic voices of sport with the passing of Tony Greig" (TELEGRAPH, 12/29).
TRIBUTES POUR IN: In London, Nick Duxbury wrote a "take-no-prisoners attitude allied with flair was one of the many tributes" paid to Greig. Former England Test captain IAN BOTHAM said Greig was a "flamboyant and extrovert" figure. Botham added Greig "changed cricket for everybody as we know it now. He revolutionised the game." Former England cricketer NASSER HUSSAIN praised Greig as "a dramatic sort of guy with the blond locks and his collar up," for revolutionizing cricket. England and Wales Cricket Board Chair GILES CLARKE described Greig as "magnificent and fearless" (GUARDIAN, 12/29). Former teammate BOB WILLIS added: "He had a tremendous effect on my career. He persuaded me to get really fit and that revolutionised my career. I never had another injury and went on to take over 300 Test wickets. It’s a sad day for cricket. Sixty-six is no sort of innings" (SUNDAY TIMES, 12/30).