Rob Steen
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Sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

Why does Greig get a raw deal?

The former England captain is still not fully accepted by the English cricket establishment - supposedly for his role in the Packer affair. Why is this?

Rob Steen

May 4, 2011

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

Tony Greig relaxes ahead of the Sabina Park Test, March 10, 2004
Tony Greig is still copping it for a supposed sin three decades ago © Getty Images
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Unreliable, selective, subjective and highly susceptible to the passing of time and fancy, memories can be savage. Lionised today, overlooked tomorrow: such is the fate of those who fail to cement their brick in the wall of fame. And the more our internal hard drives groan under the weight of accumulated information, the more prone we are to losing perspective and proportion. True, distance can exaggerate worth; more often than not, and more than ever in this age of overkill and overload, it diminishes. Neglect and injustice are inevitable consequences.

He may have ranked second only to Richie Benaud among Australia's Test wicket-takers at the time of his retirement, but when was the last time you saw Graham "Garth" McKenzie's name invoked in discussions of fast-bowling excellence? He may have averaged more than exalted contemporaries such as Conrad Hunte, Rohan Kanhai and Clive Lloyd, but how often does Seymour Nurse crop up these days in debates about Caribbean batsmanship? Among Test players who coupled 1000 runs with 75 wickets, subtract bowling average from batting average and Mushtaq Mohammad ranks eighth, higher than Warwick Armstrong, Ian Botham, Alan Davidson and Wilfred Rhodes; he also amassed more first-class hundreds than his more celebrated brother Hanif, and blazed a trail with his nifty reverse-sweep; yet history has treated him shabbily. Call them The Dissed, or The Forgotten.

No member of that airbrushed brigade, though, has been denied redemption quite so efficiently or unjustly as Tony Greig, as Dave Tossell's supremely judicious and superbly contextualised new book about the former England allrounder, subtitled A Reappraisal of English Cricket's Most Controversial Captain, does such an exemplary, if belated, job in reminding us. The mere fact that this is the first full-scale biography of one of the game's most fascinating exponents and ablest publicists is an indication of the extent to which memories have been sullied, even deleted; millions know him merely as an over-excitable commentator with a penchant for the thoughtless and ludicrous. All you really need to know about the way he is perceived on these shores is that there is a chapter devoted to him in the 2009 book by the Daily Mail parliamentary reporter Quentin Letts, 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain.

NOT THAT HIS PEERS were unappreciative. Ray Illingworth, from whom praise has always had to be prised, called Greig "one of the most imposing and influential captains in the history of English cricket". To Mike Brearley, he had an "inspirational quality". To Pat Pocock he was "a brilliant leader by example". Mike Selvey, now Guardian cricket correspondent, says he would have "done anything for Greigy". The triumphant 1976-77 tour of India, where he commanded an affection and reverence no England captain could ever hope to match, remains Greig's calling card.

"He was such a phenomenal player, you'd think he'd be mentioned all the time," a dumbfounded Alan Knott tells Tossell. "When he batted he was flexible and quick, and he stood up to the fast bowlers. He must have been the best slip fielder there has ever been, and for one match he was the most dangerous offspinner I ever kept wicket to." The accolade about his catching might fairly be interpreted as a corrective exaggeration on behalf of a fellow Packer rebel, but the point remains valid.

When Trevor Bailey died earlier this year, Robin Marlar declared the Essex giant to have been rivalled only by Botham and Andrew Flintoff among post-war England allrounders. The omission of Greig was anything but accidental. In 1977, after all, Marlar, in the midst of a lengthy and mostly distinguished tenure as the Sunday Times cricket correspondent, had predicted, snootily and confidently, a swift and painful end to the Packer Revolution, to which Greig's name will be forever entwined. Greig, though, averaged comfortably more with the bat than any of Marlar's triumvirate, and scored more centuries than Freddie and The Barnacle mustered between them (eight, six coming after taking guard with four wickets down and the total still in double figures); he also collected more five-fors and ten-fors than either. At 1.50 catches per Test, moreover, no ungloved England fielder has ever been such a prolific gobbler of mishits. As for that traditional all-round barometer - batting average minus bowling average - he ranks seventh among the 53 who have completed the 1000-100 double, two rungs above Botham and loftiest among Poms. Of the eight instances where players have twinned 400 runs with 20 wickets in a series (Garry Sobers did so twice), only Greig, against West Indies in 1974, chalked up two centuries and three five-fors (never mind an eight-for and a 13-for).

Yet what is most frequently forgotten about Greig is how his buccaneering approach changed the image of English cricket. Barging into a dressing room of dour professionalism and prim pragmatism, he put a grin on its face, a snarl on its lips and enterprise in its heart.

Despite all these inarguable qualifications, however, Greig is yet to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. All of his successors as full-time England skipper, meanwhile, have received a gong of one sort or another from Buckingham Palace. Even Kevin Pietersen.

THE REASONS, OF COURSE, are far from unfathomable. Over and above his confrontational and provocative on-field persona, part of the trouble with Greig is that he committed a pair of cardinal cricketing sins: he courted controversy and is seen as a mercenary. I did some googling, as you do: "Holding Greig grovel" yielded about 60,000 results, "Greig and Packer" 240,000, "Tony Greig all-rounder" just under 67,000, and "Tony Greig England captain" a comparatively miserly 30,000 or so.

 
 
Despite having orchestrated unsanctioned tours of apartheid South Africa and gleefully pocketing oodles of what many would describe as blood money, acts that did considerably more to blacken their country's name, Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch and David Graveney were all re-clutched to the establishment bosom and appointed to high-ranking posts
 

As Steavan Riley rams home in his acclaimed documentary Fire in Babylon, for an England captain to state his intention to make the West Indies "grovel", as Greig did to his near-immediate regret and lasting chagrin, was foolhardy at best. For a white South African émigré to do so in 1976, when one of the country's leading sitcom characters could generate laughs aplenty by calling his neighbour a "nig-nog", was the handiwork of a first-class prat. "It smacked of racism and apartheid," charged Michael Holding. "Even if it was taken in the wrong context," conceded Alvin Kallicharran, "it created this positive, aggressive feeling." No wonder Pocock called Greig a prat to his face. No member of Clive Lloyd's touring party, nonetheless, has ever directly accused Greig of racism. As Bob Willis put it, "It was just Greig being Greig, and overdoing the relish." He wasn't the Messiah after all, just an exceedingly silly boy.

It can therefore be said with some certainty that it is that pact with Packer that did the most to sink Greig's reputation. Letts' justification for including him in his hall of infamy is nothing if not typical in its flagrant snobbishness and sepia-tinted blinkers. In helping Packer assemble the game's original breakaway league, "Moneybags" Greig "turned a game of manly sportsmanship into a circus of bragging money-grubbers", a fate from which the game "has never really recovered".

For all that, the slight that the thick-skinned Greig has found hardest to forgive was the assertion by John Woodcock, then chief cricket correspondent for the London Times, that trading the national captaincy for Packer's dollars came somewhat easier to someone who wasn't "an Englishman through and through".

The more you dwell on all this, the more it strikes you as arrant nonsense, and not simply because of the unquestioned benefits the Packer revolt conferred on all professional cricketers, and hence the game. Benaud was another of Packer's most valued aides, but that never persuaded the BBC to withdraw its microphones in protest. Despite having orchestrated unsanctioned tours of apartheid South Africa and gleefully pocketing oodles of what many would describe as blood money, acts that did considerably more to blacken their country's name, Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch and David Graveney were all re-clutched to the establishment bosom and appointed to high-ranking posts. Geoff Boycott hasn't fared too badly either. Knott, John Snow, Derek Underwood, Dennis Amiss and Bob Woolmer also signed up for World Series Cricket, but none incurred a fraction of the invective hurled at Greig. Hell, Underwood, a rebel on both counts, was even elected MCC President.

The most significant factor in this shameless victimisation remains clear as ever. Greig has a stronger claim to Britishness than Andrew Strauss - his Scottish father, Sandy, flew way more missions than the purported limit during World War Two - yet he has never been considered what Margaret Thatcher would call "one of us" (the prospect of similar treatment should certainly give Pietersen all the motivation he needs to revive his waning career). And there, one cannot but believe, lies the rub.

Official forgiveness is scandalously overdue. A word with Her Majesty might not go amiss.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Charindra on (May 5, 2011, 14:16 GMT)

@John Yelton - Flintoff "at his peak"??? Flintoff's so called peak was the summer of 2005 and a few matches either side of that summer. Greig seems to have been much more consistent, and also performed against the best teams.

Posted by   on (May 5, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

As a commentator Griegs uber south african / aussie brash outer grates and irritates but those of us who saw grew up with him should never deny the warrior, enthusiam , abilty and imagination he showed both as a palyer and as a captain . History happily records his notorious maisjudged grovel gaffe but i can also recall the esteem in which he himself had for Sobers Bedi LLoyd et al .many of his finest moments were before overseas matches were tellevised but a young boy at the POS oval in 1974 i witnessed he and boycott cook up a miracle every bit as a astonishing as the one Botham and willis famously did at headingly 81 . Woodcock and marlar were just typical of the snobbish establishment that grieg. and Packer sought to destroy . the debt that brearly and botham owe is huge . his centuries brisbane 74 and leeds 76 are among the bravest. against the very best grieg rose to challenge , botham especially windies 1986 was a feeble flop .

Posted by zain2970 on (May 5, 2011, 13:59 GMT)

I've always felt that. Greig is probably England's best cricketer to come out since 1970. Botham and Flintoff do not even come close in comparision. Look at Greig's performances. The 72 Ashes , 73 tour to West Indies (13 wickets with his off-spin). The battering in 74-75 in Australia, and there in Perth (the fastest wicket in the world) an attack filled 110 against Lillee & Thomson - and if memory serves me right he was Englands most successful performer with both bat & ball in that series. Then a well thought out 116 against the Windies in the 76 series, and then a captain's knock of 103 against an attack comprising Bedi, Parsanna & Chandra in India. Name one performance by Both or Flintoff that stands up to this short career sketch of Greigy. And yes, not to forget his 80 odd catches plus his 143 Test wickets and a career filled with rearguard actions in cahoots with Knott make A.W.Grieg Englands most versatile, successful Test cricketer.

Posted by PottedLambShanks on (May 5, 2011, 13:34 GMT)

We, the TV viewers, want the best cricket commentators, we pay for them so we want the best. Greig is not the best, but he presumably part of the deal he struck with Packer all those years ago included a job-for-life on Channel Nine. That's why I don't like him; because we pay his wages and he's not the best man for the job and nobody can do anything about it. I feel like I am being mugged every time he opens his mouth.

Posted by Ram369 on (May 5, 2011, 9:01 GMT)

@ Fleetwood--Smith - Must have been quite a sight to see a batsmen take on the most fearsome bowlers of their generation as if he was Crocodile Dundee & Lilee/Thomo just born hatchlings. Maybe that explains the cowboy hat Grieg sports too. Personally, I hate the way ICC has put most "characters" into a straightjacket nowadays! Thats what got the people in the stands, not the boring goody two shoes mushrooming everywhere now! As a cricket-lover u want to see a hard fought contest which entertains not something that looks good in the stats column on the last page of a newspaper. Perhaps Sir, u would like to share some notable incidents u recollect?

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 23:09 GMT)

I had a high respect for Greig as a captain and an England player. But in the analysis of his averages compared with Botham and Flintoff, is a little naive. Greig played ALL his test matches when at his peak (age 25-30). He started late and ended early (and was happily free of injuries). At his peak, Botham was a MUCH better bowler than Greig, but his career tailed off as he got older. Flintoff started off as a very mundane bowler, but at his peak, he was MUCH better than Greig ever was. Greig was a good test batsman, but as a bowler he was usually the second string attack, whereas Botham and Flintoff were, at their peaks, the leaders of the attack. Note also in the World Cricket supertests, he played in 4 and scored a total of 71 runs on 6 completed innings (together with 7 wickets at over 40 each). It implied that he was a little above his skill level. I'm not meaning to run him down. He could slot in very nicely as the England's number 6 this year.....

Posted by vumpire-republic on (May 4, 2011, 19:31 GMT)

@coogeebear - I'm not saying he tends to root for an Aussie win on air. I'm saying that his estimation of players, and praise or criticism of them varies with his location. So on the subcontinent, he tended to hyperbolize over Murali, Tendulkar, Aravinda, Jayasuriya etc. while in Australia, the highest regard was often reserved for Aussie greats. For example, in 1996 when covering SL matches in Sharjah, he called Aravinda the best batsman in the world; while in India, it turned into Tendulkar. But when the WI toured Australia a year later, it turned into Lara or Waugh.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 15:16 GMT)

Excellent Tribute to a wonderful all rounder

Posted by Martensad on (May 4, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

Greig is not the only Englishman of SA origin to be treated in this way. Pietersen's removal as captain was a classic English set up. Robin Smith was tossed on the scrapheap when he was still at his peak. Alan Lamb's contribution is not properly recognised.

Posted by coogeebear on (May 4, 2011, 14:26 GMT)

@ Straddler, no way does Tony favour Aussie players in Australia. I t is a standing joke that Tony supports anyone who plays Australia. Ian Chappel and Bill Lawry especially rib him about it.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 13:41 GMT)

This is extremely well argued and, indeed, I shall now read the book. However, one must recognise that Greig did little to endear himself to The Establishment. He was Packer's spearhead and his "grovel" comment was an utter disgrace. History shows many benefits from the Packer revolution, but Packer did not set out to improve cricket, he set out to improve his balance sheet. The John Woodcock comment was new to me: it seems just as disgraceful as the "grovel" remark.

Posted by Fleetwood--Smith on (May 4, 2011, 13:31 GMT)

Priveleged to witness Greigy take on the fearsome pace of Lillee & Thommo at the WACA in 1974/75 series, some of the fastest bowling ever and Greigy was taunting the bowlers and launching an audacious counter-attack by slashing over the slips. There was no doubt who the big wicket for the Australians was that series. He was the player the fans loved to hate, which said something for his abilities. A bit like the great Sobers, he was equally adept at off-spin or medium pace, something you don't see these days. He does grate as a commentator, but I must be mellowing in my old age as he seems to be making more sense. Rob Steen is quite right to point out the hypocrisy in his omission from post-career honoours. Good article.

Posted by Robster1 on (May 4, 2011, 13:11 GMT)

A gutsy, charismatic world class player who's never been forgiven by some in cricket for his association with Packer. Had Gerig remained England captain through more of the early Botham years, he'd possibly be regarded as England's finest ever skipper. Speak to any of his former team mates and you'll understnad how highly they regarded Greig and enjoyed playing under his captainancy.

Posted by NBRADEE on (May 4, 2011, 12:47 GMT)

We West Indians remember Tony Greig one way and one way alone - read his comments before and after the 1976 Summer in England (history made by Richards and Holding) and see if you all still agree with all these comments...

Posted by MartinAmber on (May 4, 2011, 11:07 GMT)

Excellent article. I am slightly too young to remember the Packer affair, as I got into cricket in 1981. However, I have a strong interest in the game's history, and the treatment of Greig provides yet more depressing evidence of English establishment arrogance. See also Duncan Hamilton's biography of Harold Larwood for the disgraceful treatment of a player who wasn't "one of us" for different reasons. The comparison with Gatting is particularly galling - there is not a single English Test player in my 30 years watching cricket less worthy of forgiveness than Gatting, and for all but 3 years he was a relentlessly mediocre Test performer anyhow, with the immense good fortune to captain England against the worst or second worst Australian side since World War Two. There's also another issue with World Series Cricket - I feel that certain great players' stats are distorted by excluding WSC, and yet Wisden/ICC continue to insist that the World XI mismatch of 05/06 was a valid Test.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 9:58 GMT)

I was born after the Packer Affair and so never saw him play live, but have always enjoyed his commentary, especially the way that he, as the only non Aussie for many years in the Channel Nine commentary box, rooted for the opposition. Watching footage of the '74-'75 Ashes series and the way he deliberately riled Lillee and Thomson (smashing them through the covers then signalling his own fours!) on dodgy wickets while wearing nothing more than a cap, the bloke had serious balls. Judging by his stats and the good that he and Kerry Packer did for all international cricketers, and cricket in general, he is long overdue sone recognition from the MCC/ICC/Buckingham Palace. I'd bet plenty that the MCC won't be the first to give him any though.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

Fabulous tribute to an outstanding all rounder and captain.

Posted by Dashgar on (May 4, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

Tony Greig has been one of the best players to ever play for England. For this, first and foremost he should be remembered. @Charindra, you have said it best.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

This is a well balanced article which highlights the double standards prevailing, not only in English cricketing circles, but in cricket as a whole. For far too long the "old school tie" brigade has carried far too much sway, resulting in people like Tony Greig being forgotten by many. Yes he was South African by birth but made the choice to ply his trade in England, which he did with distinction for many years. To brand him a mercenary for joining what became known as the Packer Revolt, when he did so in order to ensure financial security for his family is ludicrous. Rather than pointing fingersat some one who was a better cricketer than he has been given credit for, why not investigate the reaons why he and others took the actions they did? Tony Greigremains one of the most underrated cricketers of all time, but this is belied by his successes on the field. Whils, he will never be my favourite commentator, I admire what he has achieved in life, both on and off the field. Ian

Posted by Yagga175 on (May 4, 2011, 9:12 GMT)

It may be hard for many who never saw him but he was a top classs player. His 1974 century in Brisbane is as brave and dare I say reckless (with its baiting of Lillee and Thomson) as any I have seen and his deeds in both that and the away series against the West Indies in 73/74 should be enough to cement his place as one of England's greatest post-war all-rounders. That he took over a struggling and shattered England team in the midst of the 75 Ashes and led by example - 90-odd in his first test?? - and backed good players young and old (Steele, Barlow, Randall) showed he was a good captain and shrewd leader. While WI were always going to win in 1976 (not least because of his "grovel" statement), the series was a lot closer than people care to remember (England on top at Lord's) and his 116 and 76* at Headingley came within an ace of squaring it. The 76/77 tour to India is his crowning achievement he led with verve, skill and no little charm - something all too rare subsequently.

Posted by Avid.Cricket.Watcher on (May 4, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Indeed, there is nothing unforgiveable in a captain of a national team exiting for a rebel league, and using his relationships and influence to tag along several other of his teammates (aside from international peers)! Of course, you can only forgive when someone expresses regret and seeks forgiveness. Not when they steadfastly maintain they were in the right.

Posted by Longmemory on (May 4, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

There were few players who were as gutsy and committed as Greig was - his counterattack against Lillee and Thompson in their prime was breathtaking. He goofed up with his "grovel" comment, no doubt, but it was a poor joke that backfired rather than any racism on his part. And his captaincy on the 1976 tour of India was just brilliant. The English led 3-0 in a five test series in India - unheard of at that time - before winning 3-1. No English team since then has come close to pulling off something like that - even with neutral umpires. And as Rob reminds us, when you look at the numbers, he was easily one of England's best all-rounders ever. All wasted on the snooty English who will never learn, it seems. If unrepentant mercenaries like Gatting, Gooch, Emburey and so many others who played with the Safs during apartheid could be so speedily rehabbed, its a travesty that Greig is still out in the cold.

Posted by Cyprian on (May 4, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

Like some of the great innings of the game, Ron Steen's piece has been fashioned with the talent reserved for the great. Love him or loathe him, Tony Greig remains the warrior. At least he is alive and like, Ian Chappell, has cahones to call it like it is ... in all its nakedness and ugliness or its grand beauty. Like his batting, his opinions may be short on elegance, but they are to the point and in the process save a lot of trees. A lot other so-called scribes could learn a lot from Tony and Ian ... espeically those who have brown noses.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

Excellent piece. I have often thought the same thing and am reminded of it every summer here in Oz when he commentates. All Test players from the 80s onwards should thank Tony Grieg and what he did for Test cricketers and their remuneration by driving the player exodus to Packer. Whilst other nations welcomed their Packer stars back with open arms, Greig was shunned and hence moved to Australia. I think that also rankled the MCC bigwigs. And in orchestrating controversial tours to his homeland, he rekindled the hopes of a South African return to international cricket. Those sanctioned tours subtly nudged South African authorities to consider change (remember the West Indies toured twice in the 80s) and the ICC towards returning Test status to South Africa. MCC officials wake up! This man is a legend and as the above article shows - on ability alone, should be honoured. Remember, "A grudge is a place where you park your car!" (Tony Greig impersonation, Twelfth Man).

Posted by vumpire-republic on (May 4, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

Tony isn't some victim who's been relegated to a life of misery. His choices made him among the highest paid cricketers of his time. Of course, he was a very talented player. But after all his deeds and verbal indiscretions (to put it mildly), it is unreasonable to ask fans and the cricket community to think of him kindly as a cricketer. As for his current career, while he adds excitement and forthrightness, he also shrewdly (and unadmirably) favours Australian players when in Australia, Indians when in India, and Sri Lankans when in SL. (So his estimation of iconic players and his tributes or criticisms of them vary depending on his location in the world)

Posted by Rahul_78 on (May 4, 2011, 7:58 GMT)

Whats the point in biting around the bush? It is a classic case of "Emperor has no cloths" about British cricket in general. The non British players have been allowed to play for england but however mighty or small their achievements may be the English public in general have never embraced them from the heart the way they have embraced achievements from some true blooded Englishmen. The John Woodcock quote was a nasty one but it must have more then summed up the general British public mood at that moment. It is irony of life that some sins are more forbidden in some cases..Not only tony grieg but certain KP's of the world will have to live with that.

Posted by Quazar on (May 4, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

Tony Greig was as mercenary as a cricketer gets. And he had an arrogant tongue. He's received his $$$ for his talent; the trade-off was with respect and admiration. Karma.

Posted by Quazar on (May 4, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

"unquestioned benefits the Packer revolt conferred on all professional cricketers, and hence the game." Stunning! How come we never hear this logic when Rob, Gideon and other English or Australian writers discuss the IPL??

Posted by Quazar on (May 4, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

"unquestioned benefits the Packer revolt conferred on all professional cricketers, and hence the game." Stunning! How come we never hear this logic when Rob, Gideon and other English or Australian writers discuss the IPL??

Posted by TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on (May 4, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

Good article. We Aussies have just about adopted Greigy as one of our own these days. We still call him a Pom or a South African, but his approach to the game was probably more suited to an Australian anyway.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 7:01 GMT)

Wow a great article..hope greigy gets what truly deserves.

Posted by Charindra on (May 4, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

I'm from Sri Lanka, and Tony Greig is a celebrity here thanks to his commentary from the mid 90's, and the "Little Kalu" and other Greig-isms. I was born long after he retired so never got to see him play. In fact, until the early 2000's, I didn't even know he was a decent cricketer, let alone that he captained Eng.

But I can just imagine what a personality he would have been. He had blonde hair, huge build, all round ability, aggressive style, and most of all he was articulate. And his father was from Scotland, he was born in SA, played for Eng, lives in Aus and is an official tourism ambassador for SL! Talk about global life.

I think it's totally unfair that he has been treated this way. He was exciting in whatever he did, whether it was playing or commentating. And he was uncompromising, which is why he doesn't bend down to Indian power these days. All in all a fantastic entertainer who deserves better!

Posted by nzcricket174 on (May 4, 2011, 6:11 GMT)

Tony Grieg was a better all-rounder than Andrew Flintoff.

Posted by kitten on (May 4, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

Very good article, and one I agree with wholeheartedly. I enjoy his commentary nowadays, and I find him very honest with his comments. Needless to say, he was a very fierce competitor in his days. May he get his rewards soon. This double standards practice should be given a full stop, and Tony get the recognition he rightly deserves. Thank you Tony Greig for many wonderful moments over the years. May you continue in the commentary box for a few more years.

Posted by robheinen on (May 4, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

Only silence remains, while waiting for redemption.

Posted by   on (May 4, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

Brilliant piece. I must say, My opinion of Tony Grieg as a player has been steadily growing with age. I was born much after he retired so I never experienced him first hand but I had a similar opinion to that pinpointed by the article - that he was a decent all rounder , nothing special , more famous for his personality. This, the fact that he was nominated for England's Cricinfo all time XI and a few other pointers fro mCricinfo have changed that.

Posted by nlambda on (May 4, 2011, 4:41 GMT)

If Gatting and Gooch were embraced by the establishment then there is no excuse to not accept Greig. And he absolutely was a superior all rounder to Flintoff.

Posted by evenflow_1990 on (May 4, 2011, 4:10 GMT)

right on rob, right on. it's good you brought this issue to light because i'd never realised what a good all rounder greig was.

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Rob Steen Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton, whose books include biographies of Desmond Haynes and David Gower (Cricket Society Literary Award winner) and 500-1 - The Miracle of Headingley '81. His investigation for the Wisden Cricketer, "Whatever Happened to the Black Cricketer?", won the UK section of the 2005 EU Journalism Award "For diversity, against discrimination". His latest book, Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport, will be published in the summer of 2014

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