Cricket

Greig hailed as 'godfather'

2012-12-30 11:15
Tony Greig (Gallo Images)

Sydney - The cricket world on Sunday paid tribute to former England Test skipper and broadcaster Tony Greig, remembering him as "the godfather of modern cricket" due to his influence in shaping the game.

South African-born Greig died Saturday after a heart attack at his Sydney home at the age of 66, as he battled lung cancer diagnosed just two months ago.

The towering Greig was remembered as being instrumental in the formation of late Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket (WSC) contest staged from 1977-79, which sent shockwaves through the sport.

"It could be argued that Tony Greig was the godfather of modern cricket, the man who believed the game should be entertaining and a little irreverent but always ruthlessly competitive," wrote The Australian's Peter Lalor. "Cricket has lost one of its giants."

Broadcasting doyen Richie Benaud, a former Australian captain who shared the Channel Nine commentary box for decades with Greig, described him as a dynamic cricketer, a fearless thinker and an entertainer.

"I found him a fellow full of courage; that was before he was ill," Benaud said.

"He was full of courage because of many things that had happened to him in his cricket life and his outside life as well. It's one of those things where we know this was inevitable but there's always a sadness when you see a good friend go."

Kerry Packer's son James said Greig "stood shoulder to shoulder with my father at times when it was not always fashionable".

"Together with the backing of other key players and supporters, they forged a brave new age for both cricketers and spectators alike. For that alone, every fan of the game is in Tony Greig's debt.

He added: "But he was much more than that. Our cricket enemy turned our mate; his famous car keys stuck in the pitch to demonstrate its hardness, and his legendary but friendly on-air barneys with the great Bill Lawry."

Former Australian captain Lawry was distraught by the news, describing Greig as "an Englishman with an Australian attitude" whose absence from the commentary box had left a big hole in the game this Australian summer.

"I missed Tony this summer just in the commentary team and now he's gone forever," Lawry said.

"My wife and I are absolutely shattered."

Greig's opposing captain in WSC and fellow Channel Nine commentator, former Australia captain Ian Chappell, spoke of Greig's trademark competitiveness.

"I had enormous respect for Tony as a cricketer," Chappell said.

"He was a great optimist as a player and a commentator. You always knew you were in a contest with him - whether playing cricket or over dinner."

Current Australian captain Michael Clarke said the news was upsetting for the Test team.

"I was only speaking with Tony a couple of days ago, so news of his passing is absolutely devastating," Clarke said.

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

Greig played 58 Tests - 14 of them as captain - for his adopted country England between 1972 and 1977, scoring 3 599 runs with eight centuries at 40.43 and capturing 141 wickets at 32.20.

Greig said earlier this year of his life in cricket: "Give your hand to cricket and it will take you on the most fantastic journey, a lifetime journey both on and off the field."

He is survived by his wife, Vivian, and four children.

Read more on:    tony greig  |  cricket
NEXT ON SPORT24X

LIVE: Amla falls - at last!

2014-12-18 08:37

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

This hilarious song pokes fun at how addicted we are to our phones.

 
 

I love summer.24

The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Which cricketer is currently of most value to the Proteas' Test team?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.