Tributes to Tony Greig

'One of cricket's great travellers'

Tony Greig genuinely loved the game, was always well-informed about it, and brought an energy all his own to the commentary box

Harsha Bhogle

December 29, 2012

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

Tony Greig interviews Shahid Afridi at the toss, New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st Twenty20 International, Dubai, November 12, 2009
Tony Greig was always up to speed on the latest developments in his role as a commentator © Associated Press

It didn't matter if you didn't agree with Tony Greig, and I don't think it mattered to him either, but gee, you listened to him.

He had what every commentator must: he had energy, and he loved the game, and the two always went together. And because he so loved the game, he knew everything about it. If there was a change in the playing conditions, he was up with the news first; if there was a match going on in Gwalior and he was in Port Elizabeth, he knew what was happening; and if there was a controversy, he waded into it.

I didn't actually work a lot with him but whenever I did, I noticed he was always ready. He had his facts and he would go into battle with them. "Righto, let's take a look at this..." meant you had better be prepared to talk about what he was going to come up with. When I wasn't completely sure about a couple of aspects of the DRS debate, I went to his blog, and sure as ever, everything was there. He liked to know what was happening.

But Greig the commentator was merely the reflection of Greig, the outstanding cricketer. He came to Hyderabad in 1972-73, and I instantly disliked him from our school stand because he produced a beauty to bowl our hero, GR Viswanath. He had long strides, and like all South Africans hit the deck hard. We went home that evening and while we couldn't match the length of his strides, we still copied his run-up and delivery.

Those two England tours of India, 1972-73, and then as captain in 1976-77 were memorable. We didn't know silly point till he stood there. He batted for ever and ever in Calcutta to score 103 and win England a game, and of course, in Bombay he lifted Vishy up in his arms when he got a hundred. That picture appeared everywhere.

He was English, he was Australian, and often he was Sri Lankan, but somewhere the South African in him never went away. On the few occasions we chatted, I asked him about South Africa and I thought there was a different tone to his voice. He was one of cricket's great travellers.

I will miss the zest he had for cricket.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by skkh on (December 31, 2012, 2:41 GMT)

Tony was a South African born, ex-Captain of England and a resident of Australia and cricket was his nationality. One thing that Bhogle, Shastri, Gavaskar and all Indian commentators could learn from Tony was that on air you should not be biased as the above mentioned are. I know my comments will not get the clearance to be printed by the powers to be but then that is the ugly truth. I remember a Aus-India test in India with Shiva and Bernard Julian commentating. Australia was building a partnership and getting ahead of the Indians. Shiva said.."we have to do something otherwise the Australians will get away". Julian was amused and asked.."what do you mean we, Shiva". Shiva corrected himself saying.." I mean the Indians" !!!!!!! This is the Indian biased commentary day in and day out. Take a leaf out of Tony and learn how to be unbiased while on the air.

Posted by ShreyasRao on (December 30, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

Tony Greig for Indians meant the person jumping off his seat during those Sharjah matches . During the 90s he was our favorite commentator . Thanks for all the entertainment Tony. RIP

Posted by balajik1968 on (December 30, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

He was one of cricket's characters. My uncle used to say that in the 1972 tour of India the captain used to send him near the boundary, where he got the crowd to fall in love with him. RIP Greigy.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

whenever I listened his commentary on Sachin's two back to back century in Sharjah against Australia for the first time he became my favorite commentator, he still is and will be...Thanks Tony for your entertainment and commitment to the game of Cricket...We will miss you and remember you..RIP Tony..

Posted by here2rock on (December 30, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

This has to be the worst month for cricket, Ricky Ponting retiring, Tendulkar retiring from ODIs, Hussy retiring and passing of Tony. RIP Tony.

Posted by DW73 on (December 30, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

Tonys love for Sri Lanka & Sri Lankan cricket was incredible.The conutry would miss him drealy.He was a genuine friend. RIP.

Posted by Gotugo on (December 30, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

harsha,u shastri,manoj and Rameez all learn from him not to be bais and changing your voice to your own country,, altest in the future being neutral with your mike in your hand you all will be paying a great tribute to tony who will never die from the hearts of true cricket loving fans still can't come into reality in knowing the great admirable unbaised tony greg's voice won't be live for us anymore

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 30, 2012, 2:55 GMT)

I sadly never saw Tony Greig playing but I like others have heard him over the years. The best thing about Tony Greig was that he was courageous as a player as well as commentator. He never bowed to pressures and was not on any particular board's payroll. His comments during his MCC lecture were fentastic. I quote him 'We can huff and puff and have all sorts of external reports but many of the problems with ICC can be resolved by India accepting that the spirit of cricket is more important than generating billions of dollars and turning out multi-millionaire players and didn't try and influence its allies in how to vote". This shows integrity and charcter of the man. Very rare soul!

Posted by Beertjie on (December 29, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

As a not-so-proud South African near contemporary of Tony (albeit from the other side of the erstwhile divide) I applaud his transnationalism and absence of bias. To be this AND have strong opinions on many topics is a gift of a great personality. Sadly, I never knew him, but he earned all our respect everywhere.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

Well said as always Harsha. RIP Tony Greig.

Posted by SimfaS on (December 29, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

Can't think of another cricketer who'd be so happy for an opponent to feel compelled to spontaneously lift them! No other cricketer compares to his personality and zest.

Posted by mark2011 on (December 29, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

He was English, he was Australian, and often he was Sri Lankan........ what nice line to describe about him Harsha.. u r damn right....

Yeahh.. more often than not he was SRI LANKAN in his LOVE to Sri Lankan Cricket and Sri Lankan people's hospitality.....

Sad that Sri Lanka miss such a great person....

Posted by priceless1 on (December 29, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

These articles bring tears to my eyes , grew up watching the game on TV and listing to Grieg commentary , for me the Cricket will never be the same again

Posted by Farce-Follower on (December 29, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

RIP, Tony Greig. Thanks for the link to the Vishy photograph. Outstanding piece of cricketing nostalgia.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

Lingering,abiding memories of seeing the photo of AW GREIG cradling GRVISWANATH (the giant and the midget!)in Bombay in 72-73 when he came to india flood,aside of course his defiant ton whilst suffering high temperature in Calcutta as a skipper of England in 76-77 will always be cherished..Showman extraordinaire,towering personality , a racy unbiased/fearless voice at the,his pitch reports were pioneering(some turned out to be comical whilst losing car keys in the cracks !),his analysis spot on, stints with Bill Lawry, and Ian chappell very memorable , always an anti establishment man....and his love for S.L was unbridled.he may ave been sad that they catapulted ignominiously, had he watched em /gone on air..RIP ATHONY WILLIAM GRIEG.U R A STAR.

Posted by enthusiastic on (December 29, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

RIP Tony Greig. It was always interesting to hear Tony and his strong and clear views on the game. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing him as he always made it exciting with his knowledge and passion about the game. You'll be missed!

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

i remember once Tony Greig even went to kathmandu as a commentator for a series between India Veterans, Pakistan Veterans and World XI veterans..Harsha, Tony and a few others are a league of a few extraordinary gentlemen..just that the league shall remain incomplete from now..forever..without this iconic transnational wonder!

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Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.
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