Tony Greig dies of heart attack

Zubin Daver, December 31 2012,
The world of cricket is today mourning the death of former England skipper, Tony Greig, at the age of 66. Greig, who was diagnosed with lung cancer since in October, died from a heart attack just after lunch.
Tony Greig died aged 66 of a heart attack
Tony Greig died aged 66 of a heart attack
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Greig first had an idea that he was ill when he was unable to shake of a bout of bronchitis earlier this year while carrying out commentating commitments in the UAE and then at the World Twenty20 competition in Sri Lanka. The initial tests that were carried out, indicated a lesion in his right lung, while subsequent examinations and operations revealed the severe nature of his illness.

Although he had been born and raised in South Africa, Greig made the decision to move to England in order to try an establish himself as an international cricketer. He did so to such an effective degree that he played in 58 Tests and became Test match captain of his adopted country.

His Test career ended abruptly, when Greig accepted an offer from the Australian media mogul, Kerry Packer, to become one of the major influences in the establishment of Packer's World Series Cricket, skippering one of the sides, and being responsible for the recruitment of many of the leading players. Subsequently, Greig moved his home to Australia and began working for Packer's Channel Nine as a cricket commentator. A role that he continued in, while also working on overseas commitments for the next thirty years, until his recent diagnosis.

Greig had become such an established and familiar face of Australian television screens, that he was sorely missed when the Australian summer's international schedule started. But the suddenness of his death the day after the finish of the Boxing Day Test, was a shock to the cricket world, while those who knew the larger than life man were enormously saddened by his passing.

Former Australian captain, Bill Lawry, summed up Greig's impact on the game of cricket, stating that Greig had been one of the game's great ambassadors, and that quite apart from being an international captain, he loved to travel the world to follow the game, such was his love for his sport. Lawry quite rightly pointed out that Greig was known, respected and loved around the world, and was one of its all-time greats.

Greig who had become persona non grata to the cricket establishment when he became Packer's right hand man at the time of World Series had recently enjoyed something of a welcome back into the halls of power, which culminated in an invitation to deliver the MCC's Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's earlier this year. he took the opportunity to explain why he had signed to WSC, before he engaged his audience in a typically informed discussion of the game he loved so much.

Greig is survived by his second wife Vivian, his daughter Beau, his son Tom, and two adult children from his previous marriage - daughter Sam and son Mark.

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