Former England captain Greig passes away
Cricket:Former England captain Tony Greig, one of the architects of cricket’s World Series revolution in the 1970s, has died at the age of 66 after suffering a heart attack at his Sydney home on Saturday.
Greig, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in October, was taken to a Sydney hospital but died at about 1.45pm.
“The staff of the emergency department worked on Mr Greig to no avail,” a spokesman at St Vincent’s hospital told local media.
A larger-than-life figure standing 6ft 6in, South Africa-born Greig was an outstanding all-rounder who played 58 Tests for England from 1972-77, 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 could bowl at either a lively medium-pace or, on occasion, employ quickish off-spin, using his height and bounce in the latter style to take 13 wickets and win a Test match in the Caribbean.
But Greig and controversy were never far apart and on the same West Indies tour in 1974 he ran out Alvin Kallicharran while the batsman was walking back to the pavilion after the last ball of the day had been bowled.
Technically Kallicharran was out as the umpire had not yet indicated play had officially ended, but after spectators invaded the ground and threatened to riot, the batsman was recalled.
Later that year on the Ashes tour of Australia, Greig sometimes seemed to be playing the Australians on his own as Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson blitzed the hapless England batsmen with their pace, menace and bounce.
He was promoted to the captaincy in the following year after England lost the first Ashes Test at home and immediately infused his own aggression and determination into the team who drew the next three Tests against one of the strongest sides in history.
However, in 1976 Greig attracted further unwanted controversy before a series against West Indies when he said he intended to make the tourists “grovel”.
The use of the word by a white South African in a time of heightened racial tensions enraged the West Indies, whose fast bowlers noticeably lifted their pace when Greig arrived at the crease on their way to a 3-0 series victory.
Greig’s biggest impact on the game came after he joined forces in 1977 with late Australian businessman Kerry Packer to set up the breakaway World Series Cricket (WSC) competition.
Media magnate Packer’s concept, aimed at securing cricket broadcast rights for his Channel Nine in Australia, shook up the game’s world order by pioneering limited overs matches played at night and turning cricketers into full-time professionals.