Sunday, 30 December 2012

Tony Greig

That this is a blog about Derbyshire cricket doesn't prevent me from a few words about former England skipper Tony Greig, whose death was announced today.

A Test batting average of 40 and bowling equivalent of 32 is indicative of a genuine all-rounder and Greig's bristling batting salvaged many a tricky situation, often in the company of Alan Knott. His high backlift saw him found out by the West Indies pace attack, but who wasn't in that era? His bowling could switch from seam and swing to off-cutters, the latter responsible for a memorable England win in the Caribbean.

He was a very good captain, though not blessed with an especially strong set of players, though his unfortunate choice of words in 1976 saw England reeling at the hands of three seriously quick bowlers in Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Wayne Daniel. Had anyone other than a man of South African background suggested that the West Indies would be made to 'grovel' it would have been of little consequence. As it was, the words were the catalyst for an unforgettable summer of calypso cricket.

He was later the catalyst of the Packer revolution, recruiting players to the cause and being well-looked after by the media magnate. He became a respected and honest commentator and someone who was always worth listening to, just as he was always worth watching.

He never made a century against Derbyshire, 82 being his highest tally, but he was a worthy opponent who always gave of his best. He was charismatic and entertaining, as well as being highly competitive, a potent combination

He will be sorely missed.

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