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'Tony's passion for cricket always came through'

A tribute from an Ashes rival and a fellow commentator

Ian Chappell

December 29, 2012

Comments: 62 | Text size: A | A

Tony Greig and Ian Chappell inspect the vandalised pitch, England v Australia, 3rd Test, Leeds, August 19, 1975
Tony Greig and Ian Chappell inspect the damaged pitch at Headingley in 1975 © Getty Images
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I'll always remember Tony Greig as a very combative cricketer. He was the sort of player who gave it everything he had. I have always described him as a cricketer who got the absolute best out of his ability.

As an opponent you knew you were in a contest with Tony Greig, and he always made his presence felt. He could do it in a lot of ways - with the bat, with the ball, and what is probably forgotten is, he was a hell of a good fielder, a terrific catcher.

I only captained against him, Australia v England, on three occasions, but I had a lot of reason to thank him in the second game, played at Headingley, in 1975. That was where they dug up the pitch and poured oil on it, on the fourth evening. The game at that stage was pretty evenly poised. (Evenly poised as far as I was concerned; Tony always said that England were in front.)

We got a call to do a meeting early in the morning at the ground with the umpires. So, as the two captains, we went out and had a look at the pitch. The umpires came to us and said, "Look, we feel the nature of the pitch has been changed, that we don't believe it is fit for playing, but if either of you captains want to play, then we'll agree to it." I thought to myself, "Oh, I'm going to get left in the lurch here", because obviously as the Australian captain and the team holding the Ashes, it wasn't in our best interests to bat on a pitch that had been damaged. And it was also very much in England's interests to play the Test match and try and level the series, with a chance of then regaining the Ashes with the final Test at The Oval.

But Tony immediately stepped forward and said, "I agree with you" to the umpires. "I believe the pitch is unfit for play and that the match should be called off." Afterwards I went to him and shook him by the hand and said, "Mate, thank you very much. I really appreciate what you did there. You could have easily left me in the lurch." That was typical of Tony. He was a very combative cricketer, a very combative captain, but he wasn't about to take advantage of you in an underhand way.

Probably the finest innings he played against us was in the Gabba Test in 1974-75, where he scored 110 against Lillee and Thomson, who certainly was at peak pace in that game. It wasn't easy out there. But Tony, every time he would hit Lillee for four, he would signal four like an umpire, and that obviously antagonised Dennis enormously. There weren't too many people around in world cricket at that stage who were looking to antagonise Dennis, but Tony did it, and he carried it off by scoring 110.

It was in that match that the "Sandshoe Crusher" was born. Before we went out to bowl in the second innings, I said to our guys, particularly our fast bowlers, "Guys, any chance we can get Tony Greig out rather than trying to knock his block off?" That's when Thommo came up with the Sandshoe Crusher that bowled Tony, and that was where the term was born.

We then went on to play each other a lot during World Series Cricket. Tony was an integral part of World Series Cricket. He was given a pretty tough job. You can imagine, as a white South African, having to travel around the Caribbean to sign up a lot of West Indies players. It couldn't have been easy for him but he was never one to shirk a challenge. He went and he did that job and he did it very well, and he signed up a lot of those international players for World Series Cricket.

Tony and I, our relationship deteriorated quite badly during World Series Cricket. Mostly, I have to say, instigated from my side. We finished a couple of years of World Series Cricket not on the best of terms. But then, after I played one more year, I went and joined the Channel 9 commentary team. Tony was part of that team. I thought to myself, "Well, we're obviously going to be working together pretty closely here. If we happen to work together for quite some time, this is going to be pretty silly, being antagonistic all the time." And because I had been the main offender, I thought it was up to me to get back on good terms with Tony. Nothing was ever spoken but we just go on with our job. It was, sort of, a case of "that was then and this is now". We just got on with our job, spent a lot of time together not only in the Channel 9 commentary box but a lot overseas.

 
 
He was a very combative cricketer, a very combative captain, but he wasn't about to take advantage of you in an underhand way. I really appreciated that
 

The thing that always came through with Tony was his passion for cricket. He had a lot of opinions, he was quite prepared to state them, and he was quite prepared to argue them. Always the thing that came through was his passion for the game. I can remember there'd be times when he'd get on one of his hobby horses about batsmen walking. He'd say, "Batsmen should walk." Occasionally I would remind him of Lord's in 1972 and say, "Well, you didn't actually walk in your career, Tony. What about Lord's, where you edged one and grabbed your shoulder to try and indicate to the umpire that you hadn't hit it?" His reply often was, "Well, do as I say, not do as I do."

We had some good times in the commentary box, we had some arguments even, but we could always sit down afterwards and joke about it.

That was another thing about Tony as a player. The Australian and South African style of play was very similar: play very hard and very competitive on the field but then sit down and have a beer and laugh about some of the silly things that happened on the field. And because Tony had grown up in South Africa, and grown up in that atmosphere, even when he joined England, he would still come in at the end of the day's play, or if we went into their dressing room he would always be there, with a bottle of beer. I think he used to bring a few of the Englishmen in with him to get them into that habit of mixing with the opposition.

I have a recent fond memory of times spent with Tony. We were commentating together on the World Twenty20 in Colombo, and there was a holiday, I can't remember exactly which holiday it was. I went to the bar to order a drink and the barman said, "There's no alcohol today." I said to him, "Well, mate, isn't there somewhere we can get alcohol?" And he said, "You can go to your room, order room service and get a bottle of wine." So we all did that. There must have been a dozen or so commentators, we came downstairs and we spoke to one of the security guys and he said, "Look, if you go quietly over to the dark corner by the swimming pool, that'll be okay. You'll be out of the way and we'll just let you have a drink and you won't bother anybody else."

So we did that, and over a glass of red, Tony, who liked to have a cigar occasionally, he said to me: "Would you like a cigar?" I quite enjoyed one every now and again but not very often. On this occasion his cigar smelt good and I said, "I'll join you." I had this cigar and a glass of wine with him and it's a decent memory of Tony.

In fact, when I got back home and got the news that he had lung cancer, I rang him up and said, "Jesus mate, I hope that wasn't a bad batch of cigars we had in Colombo," and he just laughed.

It was good to hear him laughing, even as recently as the first Test match in the South Africa-Australia series. The first day at the Gabba, I knew he'd be hurting because he always loved to be there and everybody loves to be there for the first Test, the first ball bowled. And knowing it was South Africa, I knew he'd be hurting a bit.

And Greigy, he was always the driver. He always drove us to the ground in the mornings. The cars were leaving at eight o' clock, and right on eight o' clock on the first morning of the Gabba Test this year, I rang his mobile. He answered and I said, "Greigy, where's the car?" And he said, "What are you talking about? Who's this?" And I said, "Mate, where's the car, we're waiting to go the ground." He suddenly realised who it was and said, "Sorry mate, you've just woken me up", and he laughed about it. That was typical of Tony, that he enjoyed the joke and the mickey-taking, and he loved to be part of that.

The Test match at Sydney is going to be hard work for all of us on the 9 team. Particularly because Tony and Viv, his wife, always had a big party on the third night of the Sydney Test. They would invite a lot of the international people who are in town, commentators from other countries, we'd all go to his place and it was always a very memorable evening. They were great hosts, Tony and Viv, so it'll be a tough Test match.

I'm sure it's going to be really hard for his family, particularly his younger son Tom, who is a real cricket fanatic. He used to love Tony bowling to him in the backyard and him bowling to Tony, and he always used to come to the Sydney Test match to watch the game and he'd sit in the commentary box and watch the cricket. It's going to be hard for his family. And we'll miss him greatly.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by vivbthra on (January 1, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

indeed,a shocker!Hooked to the game since the days i started speaking,probably from the age of 9 and that was precisely during the 1992 world cup.Believe me friends more than the game it was the great man tony who forced me watch the game called cricket simply because of his fantabulous commentory together with the another commentory legend Bill Lawry.I was in tears literally to have read about his untimely demise.RIP Sir Tony greig you have been a great ambassador of world cricket and it is certainly not going to be the same in the commentory box any more. Thanks Sir Tony You will stay in our hearts for ever.You will be missed deeply. It will certainly decline our interest in the game in your absence.

Posted by swamistyle on (January 1, 2013, 13:12 GMT)

Excellent article Chappelli. At least you had the guts to mention the ugly part of your relationship during World Series days & admit it was mostly your fault. Makes me believe that your spat with Botham is probably more beefy's fault. Will miss Tony in the Commentary box as he (along with Bill, Richie & Chappelli) were the voices of summer I grew up with. He always liked to stir up the Aussies which helped even out some of the bias seen in the Aussie cricketing media (especially in the newspapers). The only part I won't miss was his pro-Sydney bias that had slowly crept in over the last few years. With Tony gone, Bill rumoured to be downgraded after this summer & Richie & Chappelli probably retiring soon it will be time to put the volume down completely when watching the cricket on 9 from now on. The verbal diahhorea of the others (especially Taylor & Slater) will be even more unbearable once they control the commentary box entirely. Oh please Fox Sports can you bid for the cricket!

Posted by farkin on (January 1, 2013, 2:21 GMT)

his passion for cricket commentating did more to harm cricket then the under arm ball

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 2:13 GMT)

Stonnington Conveyancing staff Conveyancer Garvin Pereira, who is Lankan, and a big cricket fan too has always said to me that Tony Greig was the only white fella to master Sri Lankan pronunciation - and I respect that!

Posted by pcanadaguy on (December 31, 2012, 23:55 GMT)

I will always miss you Tony. I did not see you as a playing cricketer but I always loved your commentary. You gave cricket commentary a new era.

Danish .. A fan from Pakistan

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

This chap,Tony Greig,was indeed a GIANT of a sports caster;his analysis and calls were right on because of his unfaltering love of game and the players. The world of cricket owes a great deal to Mr.Greig. In his next life he is sure a spot in the world's team of cricket! RIP and sympathies to your Family and Friends,and the world of cricket. With many Thanks,Mr.Greig. "God Bless".

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

His Passion Came through the TV screen .... "Little Kalu and Sanath" his trade mark phrase ! RIP Tony Much love !

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

shocked to hear the news,just can't imagine 9's coverage without Greigy.His role as a recruiting agent during WSC under the tutelage of Kerry Packer was dynamic,especially the fact that everything was under the wraps till the very end.I guess it was because of his charming personality.This personality also was the reason for his fan following during commentary.also he gelled with different cultures easily.His love-hate relationship indian crowds during 76-77 series is well documented.RIP tony,its going to be a very subdued commentary box during the start of new year test

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

Heartfelt condolences, the International Cricket Community definitely will miss him dearly. What a lively cricket pundit and commentator he was! RIP Mr. Tony.

Posted by getsetgopk on (December 31, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

I dont know but whenever Pakistan played and Tony was on the MIC the match had ten times more excitement to it. Without Tony, cricket seems to have lost all its energy, he loved the game truly and one could feel it in his voice, he sounded like a young man in his early twenties, for me, he died young and way too soon and will be missed for a long time to come.

Posted by Rizcric on (December 31, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

We will miss him, my most fav commentator. RIP for Tony.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

He is my one of favorite with lovely voice and nice accent.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

WE MISS tony voice at sharja sachin played memorable two innings against Australia sachin power's behind tony voice is there. such a wonder full cricketer and commentator we missed. sachin retired one day matches but tony greig retired his life. both are very bad news for me.

Posted by 07sanjeewakaru on (December 31, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

Wonderful tribute Ian.Like you did for Jenny,Terry Jenner and Peter Reboke.This one seems very emotional.If you know Ian,You know he is not that kind. Tony will never forget.

Posted by manisacumen on (December 31, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

can't believe you are gone for ever tony. I will miss you most, just as others, but even more. You were more indian than an englishman as far as cricket was concerned. The commentary will not be the same now without you. Everytime you were availalble on the panel, I was waiting for your turn to come and for the stupid ones to go. Really 66 is not the age to go. I am personally shattered. God is indeed cruel. He is a sadist. He denies people whatever little happiness they can get in this world and robs them at the earliest. I can't say RIP to you, for I do not know where people go ultimately after they die. But wherever you are, i will remember you. Cricket has lost its soul. First David Hookes, then Woolmer and now you. Chappel, thanks for your article.

Posted by sachin_cricketworld on (December 31, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

it's really a really big loss to all cricket lovers....We miss u and u r lovely voice...I still remember how we enjoyed his commentary when sachin tendulkar playing in sharjah cup..May his soul RIP...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

I am not a cricket fanatic, but I was always glued to the screen when Tony was commentating. RIP Tony. You surely are missed and missed dearly.

Posted by MRushby on (December 31, 2012, 2:08 GMT)

A terrific tribute. Wonderful memories! Thanks, Ian.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

I'm gutted. He was one of the very best. Cricket (commentary) won't be the same without him.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

Perhaps now Greigy and Hooksey can replay that famous over

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

very touching article #ripTonyGreig

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

I am going to dearly miss Tony and his lively commentary.....boy he was good

Posted by yidam7 on (December 30, 2012, 19:06 GMT)

learned a lot from him..will miss his voice in commentary box.. RIP TONY !!

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

Toney greig was one of the best commentater in cricket..he as only one.definietly people will never forget his lovely voice.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

tony was the real ambassador of cricket.he made the game more interesting by his commentary.he was the no 1 player turned commentator. his passion for cricket was increasing by his age.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

he always added excitment and energy in the game.. nd yeah u will nvr b forgotten v will miss his voice..

Posted by Paracha420 on (December 30, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

A gr8 tribuite to his friend with some friendship memories,surely cricket commentary will never be much exciting without Tony.....RIP

Posted by Khalid_Masood_Khan on (December 30, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

In Tony's demise, the world of cricket has lost a game's statesman. I remember how once he dubbed Pakistani team as some sort of rebels once united they become invincible. His commentary was spontaneous, his voice a melody. We miss you, Tony, very much.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Tony was a gentleman who knew how to play "Cricket" both in and out of the field, a truly unbiased and a non racist person whose passion for cricket made a great impact on many a youngster. He was a true friend of Sri Lankan Cricket and will be sadly missed by all Sri Lankans. RIP Tony, we already miss you!

Posted by Coey on (December 30, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

Here is a poem, it's called "Our Greigy" hope you like it...

http://www.marketingfutures.com/2012/12/30/a-tribute-to-tony-greig/

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

I never saw him playing so I cannot comment on his performance as a player, but I know one thing that Tony was one of those very few UN-BIASED guys who loved every good cricketer no matter from which country he belongs and always gave his sincere opinion in his commentary. I loved him as a commentator and as a Pakistani I will say that EVERY PAKISTANI WILL MISS YOU, Tony! :(

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

We gonna miss you tony :-(

Posted by venkatesh018 on (December 30, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

Nice recollections Chappelly. We all will miss Greigy. His voice and the honest views.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (December 30, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

Tony has left a legacy that will be remembered fondly by his fans and foes! The man has been a great entertainer on field and in commentary box. Mr.Grieg you will be loved and missed greatly. R.I.P!

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

Cricket would not be the same without Tony Greig. You are the one who defend Sri Lanka when everyone mocking our little nation and our ability.. You are the one who called Sanath as Master Blaster, Kaluwitharana as Littel Kalu, , Arjuna as Captain Cool. You are the one who told that Sri Lankan pineapple and kind coconut is best in the world.. Some games we watched just because we love your commentary.. When we go to watch a match in Premadasa we always want to see this tall white fellow who is wearing a top hat with a microphone in his hand.. We always want to see you in press box.. For us you are a Sri Lankan! A true gentlemen! You will surely be missed for decades to come, as we will remember you as the best commentator ever!

Posted by here2rock on (December 30, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

Wonderful insight into Tony Greg's life off the field, great article by his mate Ian Chappell. RIP Tony, you will be missed not forgotten.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

Jeff & Tony Were My Most fav8 , Will miss Tony A Lot

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

TonyGreig s inimitable style would be missed.He was a passionate commentator and sometimes we have seen him objectivity a go by after being overwhelmed by the quality of stuff dished out by a bowler or batsman. His famous singing paeans for Tendulkar while commentating at the Coca Cola cup in Sharjah in the late 90 s is a case in point. He was at his shrillest best and was found struggling to find hyperboles too describe that heck of an innings by Sachin which later came to be characterised as Desert Storm. His soft corner for the Proteas was also well known.As the South Africans choked time and again in the manner only they can, we have seen him being disappointed,.His style cannot be replicated and such quality dont come every day and cricket will miss him like anything.Next time around as we switch on the television half an hour or so before the start of the match,we will miss this analyst par excellence.The imposing and gentle colossus will be sorely missed... Adieu Tony !!!

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

tony will be missed by his many malaysian fans who watched him play here in the 60's and 70's and continued to admire his broadcasting commentaries with th channel 9 team

Posted by Gotugo on (December 30, 2012, 3:48 GMT)

i wish all you beloved friends and collegues of tony will stop writing about him soon as i am finding difficult and hard to belive he is not with us anymore and the unbais cricket commentaries won't be the same anymore still i can't get out of the momories of him walking into the media box in dambulla and said to me srilankan's has the priceless love for cricket i salute their enthusiasum and its hard to get much clearity of english in the commontators box other then in srilanka you will be always their in our hearts and when and where ever srilankan we play i am sure u will be some where there in the sky's and watching us, we will always hear ur voice saying the "little kalu,jayyaa suriya,maaheela,sanggakarra

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 30, 2012, 2:52 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   on (December 30, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

Thanks very much indeed Ian for your great memories with Tony.He is one of the icon of the English cricket.We missed him lot.RIP Anthony William Grieg

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 2:00 GMT)

Tony, we Cricket lovers will miss you...

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 0:40 GMT)

Loved the article Ian. 74 -75 was when I was became an Aussie fan. In addition to the fact that Dad was an Aussie fan, Thommo, Lillee and you were are large part of the reason for this. That series was awesome. May you rest in pease Tony. My condolences to Tony's family, friends and colleagues.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 29, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

Well written personal memoir. Typically unsentimental, Chappelli, but with a very personal touch. Sad day here in South Africa, too.

Posted by jerryman on (December 29, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

We will miss you Tony .. you were always a great ambassador for SL and its people. I will miss your comments on air.. you were truly a pleasure to hear as you could sense the passion you had for the game. Cricket will never be the same.. may the turf rest gently on your soul . Condolences to the family .. the good die young and you were one of the greatest cricketer/commentator ..

Posted by jawadjni on (December 29, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

a real beauty from Chappeli...

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

A wonderful tribute to Tony Grieg from Chappell. R.I.P Tony! You'll be dearly missed.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

Very touching tribute by Ian Chappell. Cannot belive that we are not able to hear Tony again.Let us pray for his soul and RIP

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

He was much loved by Sri Lankan fans and had a special place for the island nation. Will be sorely missed. A great tribute by Ian Chappell.

Posted by magpie22 on (December 29, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

Sorry, Chappelli, that must have been one of the most painful columns you've ever had to write, I remember that 74-75 series and Greigy never backing down despite the horrid beating England copped. It's trite, but true to say that the game will not be the same without that clipped South African accent in the commentary box, paritcularly getting stuck into Bill Lawry or any other who disagreed with his sometimes skewed look at a game. RIP Greigy and deepest condolences to his family and friends, Bat on in Heaven, bat on.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 13:38 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 comm.box,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 Doccaau on (December 29, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Others writing such a public eulogy for a friend may have glossed over or conveniently left out what you wrote about your relationship with Tony during WSC Ian, but not someone of your character. Like many who'll read this, I'm of the age where watching cricket has always meant hearing the insights of yourself, Richie, Bill and Tony. The first time I saw that footage of Tony signalling fours against Lillee and Thommo on the Cricket in the 70's DVD I thought "Oh he did that on the field as well". Stating the obvious but he'll be missed by fans like me. Can't imagine what it's like for those who've worked and played with him for so long.

Posted by Mayan. on (December 29, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

dont do as i do, do as i say, haha priceless

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

Thanks Ian, a fitting tribute. RIP Tony Greig.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (December 29, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

He posted excellent numbers, and as captain too. My memory of him is lifting Vishwanath in the Madras test, like a baby.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 11:28 GMT)

Tony Greig could certainly be a "bloody idiot" at times, eg the Kallicharran run-out at close of play in Trinidad in 1974 which came close to causing a riot, the ill-advised "I intend to make the West Indians grovel" remarks he made as England captain in 1976 and commentary gaffes such as asking Javed Miandad if he was going to celebrate with a few drinks after winning a World Series ODI in Australia. He was also a very heroic player too, as witness not just his great innings against Lillee and Thomson in 1974 at Brisbane but also a long forgotten century against Roberts, Holding etc at Headingley in 1976 which carried England almost to the brink of a most unlikely victory. Modern players have a lot to thank him for his leading role in setting up World Series cricket. He also did a lot behind the scenes for causes such as helping epilepsy sufferers. It's a very sad day that his life has been cut short like this when he still had so much to give. He will be much missed.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Great write up, Ian!! The cricketing world will definitely miss Tony!! Tribute to the legend!!

Posted by Marcio on (December 29, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

Thanks for sharing those great memories, Ian. Much appreciated indeed.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

A lovely tribute Ian. RIP Tony Greig.

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Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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