Bangalore: The only thing surprising about Tony Greig’s delivery of the Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s was that he didn’t announce, on arrival in London ahead of the oration, that he would “make them grovel.” Them, of course, in this case being the Board of Control for Cricket in India, a body quicker to feeling aggrieved than Clive Lloyd’s West Indies, who put Greig’s Englishmen firmly in their place after a similar comment in 1976.
Greig, a lot of people tend to conveniently ignore, played 58 Tests for England, leading them with distinction and achieving more with bat and ball than should have been possible purely through his technique or skill. He was a large-hearted cricketer who scored centuries against the best attacks, pace and spin, around the world, and was good enough to take 8 for 86 against a line-up that included Fredericks, Rowe, Kallicharan, Lloyd, Sobers and Kanhai.
Far from being merely a cricketer, Greig threw himself into various projects with great gusto, not least Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, and later media work with respected houses such as Channel Nine. Greig is a member of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation and a brand ambassador for Tourism Sri Lanka – although why someone would pay Greig for something he would do for free, his love for the little island is genuine and legendary, is another question.