Former England cricket captain dies

Sydney – Hospital officials say former England captain and cricket commentator Tony Greig has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 66.

Greig had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, but the cause of death was a heart attack at his home early in the morning and he died this afternoon.

Australian Associated Press quoted St Vincent’s Hospital spokesperson David Faktort as saying “he (Greig) was rushed into St Vincent’s Hospital. The staff of the emergency department worked on Mr Greig to no avail”.

The Sydney-based, South Africa-born Greig was initially diagnosed with bronchitis in May, but the condition lingered and in October he had tests that revealed a small lesion at the base of his right lung.

Upon his return to Australia from the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, he had fluid removed from the right lung and testing revealed the cancer.

A confident and occasionally abrasive character who loved stirring up Australian crowds during the 1974-75 Ashes series, Greig played 58 Tests for England and scored 3 599 runs at an average of 40.43 and took 141 wickets at 32.20.

Greig was a key figure in recruiting international players for Kerry Packer’s anti-establishment World Series Cricket which began in 1977, the year Greig played his last Test for England.

In the 1980s Greig became a high-profile member of the commentary team for Australia’s Nine Network and his decades behind the microphone made him an institution in Australia’s sporting life.

Nine Network described Greig as a “beloved” figure.

“Tony Greig is a name synonymous with Australian cricket – from his playing days as the English captain we loved to hate, to his senior role in the revolution of World Series Cricket, his infamous car keys in the pitch reports and more than three decades of colourful and expert commentary,” the channel reported.

Greig’s involvement in the World Series Cricket caused an abrupt end to his international cricket career.

“When the enterprise was made public, his stocks plummeted,” cricket writer Gideon Haigh wrote on the cricinfo website. “He lost not just England’s captaincy, but what would have been a record-breaking benefit.

“He was diminished, too, by his indifferent on-field performances in World Series Cricket, where he seemed to cast himself as pantomime villain. Nonetheless, subsequent generations of professional cricketers owe him a debt of gratitude.”

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