30 Dec 2012

Tributes flow for ex-England captain Tony Greig

8:40 am on 30 December 2012

Tributes are being paid to former England cricket captain and commentator Tony Greig who has died in Sydney.

The 66-year-suffered a heart attack on Saturday, five months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Born in South Africa of British parents he captained the England side from 1975 to 1977, and was also instrumental in the development of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket.

Following his retirement from international cricket, Greig became a popular television commentator in Australia.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he loved Greig's spirit.

James Packer, son of media tycoon Kerry Packer, hailed Greig as a trailblazer and said cricket's modern-day stars were indebted to the former England captain.

ABC cricket commentator Jim Maxwell recalled the "combative" opponent who took on the indomitable Australian side in the mid-1970s.

He said Greig was well respected by Australian cricketers and had an individual style of commentary. "He was willing to shoot from the hip, people enjoyed that," Mr Maxwell told the ABC.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell said Greig was a great optimist as a player and a commentator.

Another ex-Australia captain, Greg Chappell, paid tribute to his enthusiasm for the game and his combative nature.

"While he was always happy to stir the Australian audiences, behind the scenes he loved this country as much as we do."