Commentator Tony Greig dies

2012-12-29 08:13

Sydney - Flamboyant former England cricket captain and television commentator Tony Greig died of a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 66, as he battled lung cancer.

South African-born Greig had only recently been diagnosed with cancer and suffered a cardiac arrest at his Sydney home, dying shortly afterwards.

"Tong Greig passed away at St Vincent's Hospital of cardiac arrest at 04:45 SA time," hospital spokesperson David Faktor said.

"He was rushed to St Vincent's and staff at the emergency department worked on Mr Greig but to no avail. I understand his family was with him."

Greig, who worked for Australia's Nine Network for decades, first became aware of his illness during Australia's one-day series against Pakistan in Dubai in August and September.

On his return to Sydney, he had fluid removed from his right lung and tests revealed he had cancer, said the network, which described Greig as a "beloved" character.

"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," Nine said.

Last month, Greig spoke to the network's cricket commentary team, of which he was a member, during their coverage of the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane.

"It's not good. The truth is I've got lung cancer. Now it's a case of what they can do," he said at the time, ahead of an operation.

Greig played 58 Tests for his adopted country England between 1972 and 1977, scoring 3 599 runs with eight centuries at 40.43 and captured 141 wickets at 32.20.

He captained England in 14 Tests and also played in 22 one-day internationals.

Greig was a controversial, swaggering figure throughout his career, once prompting a storm of criticism when he promised to make the West Indies "grovel" ahead of their 1976 tour of England, evoking the spectre of slavery.

He was 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.

Greig helped secure the signings of a number of English and other foreign players to the rebel series, launched in response to the Australian Cricket Board's refusal to give Packer's Nine Network exclusive Test broadcast rights.

The series featured stars such as Dennis Lillee, Imran Khan, Greg and Ian Chappell, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd and left a lasting legacy on the game, including improved financial rewards for players.

Greig's involvement caused an abrupt end to his international career and in the 1980s he joined the Nine Network's cricket commentary team along with former Australian captains Richie Benaud, Ian Chappell and Bill Lawry.

"When he played cricket, he was big and he did big things," Benaud said.

"And he didn't care about anyone else who was bigger or perhaps might even be faster or anything like that. He would just get in there and fight."

His old Australian adversary 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 flair and toughness," he said.

"He was a genuine all-rounder who in turn was an integral part of World Series Cricket's success. Once his playing days were over Tony offered an insightful commentary. He will be sadly missed."

Australian fast bowling great Glenn McGrath tweeted: "My thoughts are with Tony Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig," while current Australian team coach Mickey Arthur said: "RIP - Tony Greig. A very good man!"

"RIP Tony Greig!! You have left a great footprint on the world of cricket. My condolences to the Greig family," retired West Indies batting great Brian Lara said in a post on his Twitter account.

"Not only was he a wonderful player and a very successful player for England, I think he was a wonderful guy," Australia captain Michael Clarke told Australian television.


  • john.a.swart - 2012-12-29 08:28

    R.I.P. Tony Greig. Our thoughts and prayers are for the family and friends at this time. He will be sorely missed - not just as a commentator but as an outstanding and respected sportsman internationally.

      koos.meyer.52 - 2012-12-29 12:01

      No mention that he is South African of course!!

      CapeChappy - 2012-12-29 13:54

      Koos, read the 2nd paragraph. To me this guy was the voice of cricket for the past 30 years and he will be greatly missed. I will be at Newlands to stand with the thousands of other cricket fans when they will, undoubtedly, have a minute silence for him.

  • Spha - 2012-12-29 08:30

    i truly enjoyed his commentry and his indepth knowledge of d game,cricket commentry will never b d same again with Robin Jackman sick as well,may his soul rest in peace!!!

  • lara.vanrooyen.1 - 2012-12-29 08:44


  • Wayne - 2012-12-29 08:46

    Ag no man, now that's sad news.

  • Emmi Foxx Nyathi - 2012-12-29 09:06

    RIP Tony Greig, always enjoyed ur commentary, very insightful and never a dull moment, RIP!

  • gary.doyle.520 - 2012-12-29 09:25

    Very sad loss, going to miss his great personality, insight and commentary.

  • kevin.maharaj - 2012-12-29 09:25

    RIP Tony Greig - you were the BEST cricket commentator.

  • anthony.cowen.50 - 2012-12-29 09:28

    RIP Tony from Kei Mouth your holiday home

  • fef.gericke - 2012-12-29 09:32

    RIP.You will be missed.Legend!

  • brendon.nel.7 - 2012-12-29 09:35

    So sad the death of a legend.

  • unverifiedcomedian - 2012-12-29 09:41

    RIP Tony Greig. Hopefully Jacker's doesn't get this type of outcome since he's also battling against cancer.

  • dick.etheridge - 2012-12-29 09:46

    RIP ''ou Grootte," your insightful commentaries will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2012-12-29 09:51

    Condolences to his family & friends. Tony was a most likeable person and many South Africans were sorry to see him leave SA an move to Australia. Played great cricket when he decided to retire.

  • Jacques - 2012-12-29 09:51

    Rip Tony... Going to miss you!

  • barry.saunders.180 - 2012-12-29 09:53

    He was about the only Channel9 commentator I could stomach! Going to miss his commentary! ESSE QUAM VIDERI

  • - 2012-12-29 10:00

    A bit biased when Aus played but good nonetheless I loved it when he got all excited! RIP brother.

  • kwassie.modo - 2012-12-29 10:27

    LEGEND...wait for it...DARY!!!

  • richard.young.1253236 - 2012-12-29 10:34

    For an Australian to not only play for England, but to captain them, shows a capability and depth of character far beyond the normal international cricketer, and most of the latter are somewhat beyond the average in any case. So this was a great man, not only for his cricket playing and captaining days, but for another three decades on in giving to the world his wisdom and humour of what was really going on on the pitch (and maybe the dressing room). He was taken at least two decades too soon. He will be remembered. RIP

      richard.young.1253236 - 2012-12-29 13:56

      The article says that he was South African-born. Indeed a later posting says that he went to Queens College in Queenstown. So it seems that he was South African-educated as well. But he emigrated to Australia and played test cricket for England and captained its test side, I believe as an Australian national (I am open to be corrected). My initial posting says nothing about him being Australian-born. And I don't think that he was ever a South African national while playing test cricket nor as an international cricket commentator. But a great South African product nonetheless.

      sagebrush.bush - 2012-12-29 22:09

      Richard, after Tony matriculated from Queens College he went to England and played county cricket like a lot of SA cricketers still do. His father was born in the UK which entitled him to play for England. His mother was from a well known Eastern Cape family. Only towards the end of his England days when he signed on to play in the Kerry Packer series did he move to Australia.

      richard.young.1253236 - 2012-12-30 11:21

      Sagebrush, thanks for the good factual update. It's a pity that all (or most) of the recent press articles failed to provide the details. But Tony Greig seems to have had an interesting nationality history: born and educated in South Africa to a Briton as father, played cricket in England, then emigated to Australia. But in any case I think that for most of his life he was an Australian. With the best of South African genes, upbringing and sports coaching. A man among millions.

  • tim.southey.1 - 2012-12-29 10:39

    Rest well "Washies", long since our days at Queens College in Queenstown. We could always claim you as a Old Boy legend. Gonna miss your voice mate. To the family, peace and blessings. Tim Southey (1965 old boy)

  • kwassie.modo - 2012-12-29 11:06

    All the good commentators are gone...Neil Johnson and Craig Marais are still alive!

  • Trevor - 2012-12-29 11:34

    Rip legend

  • stefan.alberts.77 - 2012-12-29 12:45


  • markwmilligan - 2012-12-29 16:56

    Shame RIP Tony, a great servant of the game.

  • mickygonsalves - 2012-12-29 20:25

    A truly remarkable personality. A giant in the cricket world. He will be sorely missed. RIP.

  • darel.krupanandham - 2012-12-30 04:48

    I don't know much of his cricket career but I will remember Mr.Tony Greig as an outstanding commentator - will surely miss him being on the panel. R.I.P.

  • andrew.elliott.5283 - 2012-12-30 06:56

    As a classmate of Anthony Greig from 1960 to 1965, if my memory serves me correctly, from a young age not only was he a excellent cricketer but he also played first team tennis and rugby for Queens College Queenstown, he was also school prefect and  an icon for his school mates. We will remember you with pride

  • kevin.freeman.9231 - 2012-12-30 07:44

    RIP mate! What an awesome character of the game, and also a larger than life person away from it. Great memories attending a breakfast in PE some years back at which Tony was the speaker!

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2012-12-30 13:10

    R.I.P Tony we will mis o on Tv and on Radio and may the Good Lord Bless us with another Tony!!

      sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2012-12-30 14:55

      I meant to say we will mis o voice Tony

  • suhail.varachia - 2013-01-19 14:03

    "I intend to make them grovel" hahaha

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