Anthony William "Tony" Greig (6 October 1946 – 29 December 2012) was an England Test cricket captain turned commentator.
Born in South Africa, Greig qualified to play for the English national team by virtue of his Scottish parentage. He was a tall (6 feet 6 inches or 1.98 metres) batting all-rounder who bowled both medium pace and off spin. Greig was captain of England from 1975 to 1977, and captained Sussex. His younger brother, Ian, also played Test cricket, while several other members of his extended family played at first-class level.
Greig became a commentator following the end of his playing career, later emigrating to Australia. A long-term sufferer from epilepsy, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2012. Greig died in Sydney, New South Wales, on 29 December 2012, aged 66, from cardiac arrest due to an apparent heart attack.
Tony Greig's Special:
Greig was big, brash and ultra-competitive, and made himself at home right from the start, scoring a pair of fifties and taking five wickets on Test debut in the win against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1972. He also had a perspective on life and the game that meant it was hard not to warm to him: his wooing of the Indian crowds was an object lesson on how to tour a country that English cricketers had not always relished, and his iconoclastic tendencies insured he relished a challenge. His 110 out of a total of 265 against a rampant Lillee and Thomson at Brisbane during England's bloodied-and-battered Ashes tour of 1974-75 remains one of the bravest in Test history.
"They are dancing in the aisles in Sharjah."
Greig captures the mood during Sachin Tendulkar's assault on Australia in the Desert Storm series in 1998
"The little man has hit the big fella for six! He's half his size!"
Tendulkar's straight six off Tom Moody in the final of the same series amuses the commentator immensely
"It's miles in the air… it's a wonderful catch! What a catch! The greatest catch! Unbelievable Steven Waugh."
Greig at his excited best while watching Steve Waugh take a running catch on the boundary
"Straight up in the air… Waugh won't drop this… oh he's dropped it! I can't believe it! What's going on here?"
He's forced to splutter when Waugh drops a dolly off Tendulkar
"Oh boy, doesn't she look gorgeous?"
As the camera pans on an attractive female spectator, Greig airs his opinion and prompts Bill Lawry to say something too.
"Changing behind the bowler's arm? That's enough to put any batsman off."
Npower sponsor girls by the sightscreen distract the batsman and Greig
"These Sri Lankans are giving the Aussies a real hiding."
And they did too, in the 1996 World Cup final
"What a biggie! It's gone into the trees."
During Sanath Jayasuriya's world-record fastest one-day fifty
"Viv Richards has obviously decided that tonight is going to be his night."
And it was, as Richards's 40-ball 60 helped West Indies win the Benson & Hedges World Series 2-1 in a best-of-three final
"No, we don't want him to go there, that's for sure. That would not help at all."
Greig's struggles with a Channel 9 graphic for slip fielding has his colleagues in splits
"That was hit really hard by Rod Marsh… no it wasn't, Rod Marsh has just walked into the dressing room, and what's more, he's retired!"
Greig confuses Allan Border with Rod Marsh three years after the keeper quit Test cricket
"He's blazed that one through the off-side field… go and fetch that!"
On Asanka Gurusinha's assault on the Indian bowlers during the 1996 World Cup
"That's a great shot. What a little beauty! That's gone miles over the top of midwicket."
On Ajay Jadeja's six of Waqar Younis in the 1996 World Cup quarter-final
"Kumble's playing a blinder."
Words you never thought you'd hear
"India have won in dramatic style! The whole of Bengal are on their feet!"
India's historic win over Australia in Kolkata 2001, in the words of Greig
"Looks like Inzamam is making a comeback… Sorry Inzy, don't want you charging into the dressing room here trying to beat me up."
A tubby fielder playing a match in the desert in the Middle East reminds Greig of a certain great Pakistan batsman
"They'll probably need Gillette to work on one of those Gillette G2 double-edged swivel heads to get through those valleys they have got here."
One of Greig's many memorable pitch reports, in which he uses a key and a scythe
In The History:
Greig will always be the devil-may-care rebel who cocked a snook at the establishment and ascended to the England captaincy almost in spite of the innate conservatism of the English game. On the field he was never less than watchable, and sometimes brilliant. Off it, he was part of the most important revolution the game has seen in the last 30 years. His alliance with Packer cemented his standing as an outsider, but it was typically pragmatic of the man. And the effects still reverberate today.
Here is a video when he was seen last on television: