Anthony William Greig, a former England Test cricket captain, turned to a commentator, was born on the 6th of October 1946 in Queenstown, Cape Province, Union of South Africa. His father was a Scottish immigrant, and his mother was a South African-born lady. He was educated at Queen’s College, Queenstown, South Africa.
Many former cricketers of Sussex Cricket Club, the oldest cricket club are recruited to coach the cricket team at Queen’s College. The famous people, Jack Oakes, Alan Oakman, Ian Thomson, Ron Bell, Richard Langridge and Mike Buss, they all came from overseas for off-season work during Greig’s schooldays. They noticed his abilities at first sight. After a first-class debut for Border Province in the Currie Cup, led to a trial at Sussex when Greig was 19.
In his first game for Sussex, he scored 156 in 230 minutes against a powerful Lancashire attack, proving his future cricket path. Aiming to join the England Test Team in six years, he returned to South Africa to play for a few years in the winter. But eventually, he moved to the Eastern Province for the 1970-71 season.
Greig left for a match with West Indies, as a member of England team in early 1974. However, when there was much controversy over the umpire’s decision, he scored 430 runs in 47.7 overs and took 24 wickets doing a significant part making England team win.
In the summer of 1974, England played three Tests against India and three against Pakistan. Overall, Greg had a batting average of 41.5 and took 14 wickets. His highlight was scoring a century against India at Lord’s. It was the right choice for the Ashes tour of Australia at the end of the year. By that time Greig became a vital player of Team England. Many English batsmen struggled in the first Test at Brisbane, shocked by the Australian fast bowling attack of Jeff Thompson and Denis Lillee. However, Greig played a lone hand with 110 in the first innings.
For the first time, he played in the World Cup match series in England, in 1975. Australia eliminated his team in the semi-finals. Greig never did outstand in the 22 ODIs that he played for England, although suited to the one-day game. Australia stayed on to play four Ashes Tests after the tournament ended. England lost their first match in Edgbaston, and blame fell on the captain Mike Denness. Denness got sacked, and Greig got was the team’s high expectation. During the games, he was aggressive and brave enough to counteract the Australians’ strengths.
Greig delivered 96 runs in the Second Test at Lord’s and scored 41 in the second innings taking three wickets in England’s win. He became well-known among his colleagues as a man who wanted to take commercial advantage of his career as a leading sportsman. Greig appeared in Australian commercials, signing many endorsements, and his most popular advertisement was for “Nutri-Gain.”
The best performance of Greig’s captaincy was when England team toured India for a five Tests in 1976-77. England team had not won a Test series on the subcontinent for fifteen years. Greig made the best of his previous experience and worked to build a good rapport with the Indians. England won the first three Tests by a considerable margin, their best in an extended period. Greig scored 103 in Kolkata, the finest moment of his career in front of 100,000 Indian fans on a broken pitch, and struggling with a stomach bug. He left with 324 runs and ten wickets.
After he retired from cricket, he got offered with an opportunity to work as a cricket commentator by Kerry Packer. Then onwards he started his career as one of the cricket’s top commentators.
In May 2012, Greig had a severe cough. Initially, with his symptoms, he got diagnosed with bronchitis. After undergoing several tests, a small malignant lesion was found in his right lung. In October 2012, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and went through a surgery for cancer in November. Greig died of a heart attack at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney on the 29th of December 2012 at the age of 66.