Antony William Greig was not the colossus that bestrode cricket of say Tendulkar, Bradman et al but as a dominating influence in the latter half of the 20th century world of cricket, Tony, "Greigy" was right up there.
Born in the apartheid Republic of South Africa with a qualifying UK ancestor the young Tony took up an opportunity to trial for Sussex County, where growing success led to the England team and ultimately its captain.
Always the innovator and with his ultra competitive streak he caused more than his share of upsets in the staid olde world dominated by the always quaintly eccentric Marylebone Cricket Club. England only played "tests" touring teams were MCC teams. This was a world that still included the annual Gentlemen Vs Players game where the paid who could never captain an MCC team played the Amateur Gentlemen.
One of his "moments" occurred when at close of play in a test in the West Indies Alvin Kallicharan left his crease before the Ump called stumps and Greig threw down his wicket, appealed and in a near riot outcome the batsman was adjudged, correctly, as out.
By next day Kallicharan was reinstated after the England Captain "withdrew" the appeal and went on to make 150.
Hard but fair, over 6'6" with a shock of blonde hair, Greigy scored over 3500 test runs and was a very useful medium bowler who added Off spin to his repertoire, taking enough wickets to be regarded as a true allrounder.
When Kerry Packer made his move to bring cricket, kicking and screaming into the modern professional era, Tony Greig was one of his main lieutenants, he was the difference and like it or not something had to give as five day test cricket is not the global marketing opportunity mass audiences and TV in particular need to be viable, outside of the UK, Australia and India.
Following the Packer revolution Tony Greig became an integral part of the Channel 9 Commentary team and with his very distinctive SA accent and a deep understanding of the game in all its facets.
Diagnosed with Lung Cancer last October his brief illness removed what had become part of the public face of the game throughout the world. From a niche as a trailblazer "mercenary" of cricket foreswearing his birth nation to rise to the top in the UK world of red and yellow striped ties at Lords, Tony Greig leaves a rather large hole in the true global game with his death from cardiac arrest in his adopted land, Australia.
RIP Tony Greig, the world of cricket was made richer by your presence
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