Maume, Chris, The Independent (London, England)
Cricketer who captained England
Tony Grieg was not merely a skilful cricketer, an accomplished captain and a thought-provoking commentator, he was, in his own way, a cricketing revolutionary. Grieg, who has died at the age of 66 from a heart attack, two months after being diagnosed with lung cancer, helped usher cricket into the modern era of fully-fledged, handsomely-paid professionalism.
Greig, who captained Sussex, was renowned as a tenacious all- rounder and led England in 14 of his 58 Tests after taking over from Mike Denness in the summer of 1975. But he will be remembered as much for his advocacy of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket extravaganza, which dragged the sport into the 20th century.
Greig's presence gave WSC international credibility and a respected cheerleader, and in the process he helped change the game forever. Another former England skipper, Nasser Hussain, said of his impact on cricket: "It was huge. It was an amateur game before with players just playing for the love of the game."
It was not without cost to Greig. He was stripped of the England captaincy and lost out on a lucrative benefit year. But history's verdict on him has softened somewhat, given that the Packer model is now increasingly the norm in professional cricket.
Greig was born in Queenstown, South Africa and qualified for England due to his Scottish father. Standing 6ft 6in (1.98 metres), he scored 3,599 runs in Tests for an average of 40.43, including eight centuries, and took 141 wickets at 32.20 each. He was also a brilliant slip fielder, taking 87 Test catches. Greig could bowl at either a lively medium-pace or, on occasion, employ quickish off- spin, using his height and bounce in the latter style to take 13 wickets and win a Test match in the Caribbean. …