Former England skipper and cricket pundit Tony Greig passes away

Former England cricket captain and television commentator Tony Greig has died at the age of 66 after being diagnosed with lung cancer, Australia's Nine Network said Saturday.

Greig, who worked for the broadcaster, first became aware of his illness during Australia's one-day series against Pakistan in Dubai in August and September.

On his return to Australia, he had fluid removed from the right lung and testing revealed he had cancer, the network said.

"Beloved Tony Greig has passed away today, aged 66. To his family and friends we pass on our best wishes," Channel Nine tweeted.

Last month, Grieg spoke to the network's cricket commentary team, of which he was a member, during their coverage of the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane.

Tony Greig is no more
Tony Greig played 58 Tests for England and captained the side in 14 Tests. Pic/AFP

"It's not good. The truth is I've got lung cancer. Now it's a case of what they can do," he said at the time. He had an operation later that month.

South African-born Greig played 58 Tests for England between 1972 and 1977, scoring 3,599 runs with eight centuries at 40.43 and captured 141 wickets at 32.20. He captained England in 14 Tests. He also played 22 one-day internationals for England.

Greig was instrumental in the formation of late Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket contest staged from 1977-79 which sent shockwaves through the sport.

He helped secure the signings of a number of English and other foreign players to the rebel cricket series, launched in response to the Australian Cricket Board's refusal to give Packer's Nine Network exclusive Test broadcast rights.

The World Series featured stars such as Dennis Lillee, Imran Khan, Greg and Ian Chappell, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd and left a lasting legacy on the game, including improved rewards for players.

The best performance of Greig's captaincy career came in 1976-77, when England toured India for a five-Test series.

The team had not won there for 15 years but went on to score one of their most convincing triumphs when they clinched the first three Tests by huge margins.

Greig turned into a successful commentator following the end of his playing career in 1977 and was forthright with his views. He was one of the most bitter critics of BCCI's opposition to the Decision Review System.

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