Australia, Sri Lanka remember legendary Tony Greig

Friday, 4 January 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SYDNEY (AFP): Australia and Sri Lanka paid their respects to Tony Greig, in a moving farewell to the former England Captain before the start of play in the third Test.

The family of former England Captain and broadcaster Tony Greig, who recently passed away at the age of 66, observe a minute’s silence prior to the start of day one of the third Test between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 3 January 2013 (AFP)

A minute’s silence was observed by family, players and fans in honour of Greig, who died at the weekend, aged 66 from a heart attack while battling lung cancer.

A trademark Greig sunhat was placed symbolically on top of the stumps at the Sydney Cricket Ground before being taken away by his sons, Mark and Tom.

The sons embraced before heading from the ground before the start of play.

Greig’s family and the Channel 9 commentary team were invited by opposing Captains Michael Clarke and Mahela Jayawardene to join the players and officials on the playing arena before the match started.

His wife Vivian was overcome by the cricket community’s response.

“I just wish he could have seen it,” she said. “I’m so grateful, truly grateful.

“For Channel 9 and Cricket Australia to organise this tribute to him is truly touching.”

Greig worked for Australia’s Nine Network for decades and his long-time commentary colleagues Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell were among the television contingent standing alongside the Australia team at the pre-match tribute.

Organisers had urged fans to wear Greig-style wide brimmed hats, and thousands responded under sunny skies.

Australian Captain Clarke also wore a neckerchief, in Greig style, as a personal tribute, as he led the Australians onto the field.

South African-born Greig, a swashbuckling middle-order batsman and medium-fast bowler who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, died shortly after suffering a cardiac arrest at his Sydney home.

A hat, of the type often worn by former England test Captain and Cricket Commentator Tony Greig, sits atop the stumps before the start of the first day’s play of the third cricket test match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 3 January 2013. The placement of the hat was part of a memorial for Greig who died on Saturday from a heart attack (Reuters)

He was instrumental in the formation of late Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer’s breakaway World Series Cricket contest staged from 1977-79, which left a lasting legacy on the game, including improved financial rewards for players.

Greig played 58 Tests for his adopted country England between 1972 and 1977, scoring 3,599 runs with eight centuries at 40.43 and capturing 141 wickets at 32.20.