Tony Greig (1946-2012): Tributes To A Great Cricketer!

We knew him those days only through the radio commentaries whenever India happened to play England. We are talking of the early seventies when television coverage was restricted to mostly New Delhi cricket Tests and there no possibility of any national telecast as there was no terrestrial network through satellites. Cricket came live to our homes only after 1982. Therefore we knew little about his towering 6.6 feet all-round field presence and much lesser about his utterances, antics and entertainment on the field. But even through radio commentaries he made his presence felt particularly in 1974 when England defeated India 3-0 in England with India getting shot out for 42 in the second innings of the Lords Test, and then again during 1976-77 England tour of India known as the John Lever ‘Vaseline’ Series when India lost again 3-1.  As a great cricketer he remained etched in our mind since then and his popularity later as a commentator, when we actually started seeing him, only realized his image for us.

Anthony William‘Tony’ Greig was South Africa born and got adopted for the English national cricket team through his Scottish parentage. He played for England from 1972 to 1977 and captained England from 1975 to 1977. In his brief English career he played 58 Tests (14 as Captain) scoring 3599 runs at an average of 40.4 with eight centuries. As a bowler who could bowl both medium pace and off spin Tony Greig captured 141 wickets with 6 five-wicket hauls. Since the one-day cricket World Cup was started only in 1975 he played just 22 one day internationals with 269 runs and 19 wickets. 

Tony Greig and controversy was made for each other. His utterances and antics created big controversies, but he never failed to entertain the spectators. He was one of the most popular international cricketers on the Indian cricket fields and later the most deft, excitable and delightful commentator. His biggest controversy came when he helped Kerry Packer make the breakaway World Series Cricket and lost his captaincy and place in the English team. Tony Greig became an English cricket commentator based in Australia then onwards.

Tony Greig died in Sydney yesterday following a heart attack. Only two months back he was diagnosed with lung cancer and the great cricketer knew his end was near. But the fighter never gave up his spirit, vitality and jovial nature. He left behind the burden of sorrow and irreparable loss on his fans and fellow cricketers.

Our tributes to the great cricketer, the expert commentator and the born entertainer.