Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tony Greig and Pakistan Cricket.

'Shaheed Afridi, when he hits them they stay hit.' - Every Pakistani fan for sure remembers who used to say this? If not then let me tell you it was Tony Greig, the famous commentator and English Captain.

There was another famous quote which he used a lot whenever Pakistan was playing at Sharjah, was about to win a match and the camera focused towards the crowd.

"They are dancing in the aisles in Sharjah. 

Anthony William "Tony" Greig was an England Test cricket captain turned commentator.

Born in South Africa, Greig qualified to play for the English national team by virtue of his Scottish parentage. He was a tall (6 feet 6 inches or 1.98 metres) batting all-rounder who bowled both medium pace and off spin. Greig was captain of England from 1975 to 1977, and also captained Sussex.

A leading player in English county cricket, Greig is thought by some former players and pundits to have been one of England's leading international all-rounders. He helped Kerry Packer start World Series Cricket by signing up many of his English colleagues as well as West Indian and Pakistani cricketers, a move which cost him the England captaincy.

Greig became a commentator following the end of his playing career, later emigrating to Australia. A long-term epileptic, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2012. Greig died in Sydney, New South Wales, on 29 December 2012, aged 66, from cardiac arrest due to an apparent heart attack.

Sadly he is no more with us but over a decade of International Cricket and three decades worth of international cricket commentary cannot be forgotten that easily. Writing a bio of his is no difficult but let's just focus on Tony Greig and Pakistan Cricket.

The Rawalpindi Express.

Many of us may not remember but it was Tony Greig who gave this name to Shoaib Akhtar. Over the years it has become the identity of the fastest bowler of the World. Shoaib Akhtar, in this book writes that when he bowled at the speed of 100mph during an ODI against New Zealand in 2002 no one was willing to accept it, even ICC refused by saying that the speed guns were not reliable but only Tony Greig spoke for him openly and even fought with his fellow commentators because he admired Shoaib Akhtar a lot.

The End of Matting Wickets in Pakistan.

In the beginning years of Pakistan Cricket all the matches were played on matting wickets instead of turf and because of this, visiting teams found it really difficult to score as the pitches were bowling friendly. Bowlers like Fazal Mahmood used such pitches perfectly. In his book, Tony Greig writes that in 1960 Richie Benaud told him that it was because he talked to the President of Paksitan Ayub Khan and convinced him that such wickets are not good for the future of Pakistan Cricket, that was the last year when matches in Pakistan were played on matting wickets.

On Shahid Afridi.

Pakistan has got a gem of a captain who is the man behind the scripts of these magnificent wins. Half their players are out: retired or banned! They have no home games yet they keep winning the matches!

The Forfeited Test.

In his book Tong Greig also mentions about a test match that was played in Karachi in 1969. That match wasn't completed because of the people who invaded the ground while protesting. This was the first and only test match that was forfeited because of crowd intervention. 

Forcing Mustaq Muhammad to play.

Tony Greig writes ' During World Cricket Series Mustaq Muhammad was playing under my captaincy and I wanted to play him in a crucial match but he was unfit because of an injury on his food. He was wandering here and there in pain. One day before the match I called the physiotherapist and asked him how long will it take for Mushi to get well, he told me it will take a while so I asked him to bring the big injection along with him. The next day Mustaq was again in pain saying he won't be able to play so the physio took out the injection and said: 'Okay now we only have one way left'. Seeing the big injection needle Mushi instantly said. 'Okay, okay I can play, I can try and play I feel better now.'
I knew he would say this, there is no doubt that he was a good team member and a great fighter.

Imran Khan on Tony Greig.

Tony Greig was Imran Khan's first Test Wicket.

'Among all the English captains I have seen Tony Greig was the best and had an inspiring personality. His captaincy was just like that of Mustaq Muhammad, when he was in form he turned out to be the best captain and when he was out of form he lacked confidence in captaincy.' 

Convincing Pakistani players to participate in World Series Cricket.

In 1977 when Pakistan team was touring West Indies, Tony Grieg came to the Pakistani team dressing room and convinced Pakistani players to participate in the World Series Cricket.

Making Miandad, Miandad.

When Tony Greig was made the captain of Sussex county he had to pick four young players who could help sussex in the county championship, one of them was Miandad. The reason he choose Miandad was his fearless approach, whenever the situation was tough he became tougher, whenever required the led from the front, even at a young age he used to come and suggest me ideas in field setting and about the match.

The Best and Worst of Miandad.

According to Tony Greig, best thing about Miandad was that he didn't even have a bad mood, whatever you say to him, offend him, he would stayed calm. The worst thing about him was that he had no clue about English.

Tongue in Cheek for Inzamam.

"Looks like Inzamam is making a comeback… Sorry Inzy, don't want you charging into the dressing room here trying to beat me up." A tubby fielder playing a match in the desert in the Middle East reminds Greig of a certain great Pakistan batsman


Tony Greg: So Inzi, that’s fantastic, your wife is pregnant for the second time and u must be happy!

Inzamam: Bismillah-e-Rehman-e-Rahim! All credit goes to the boys. Everyone work hard for it, especially Afridi. It was tight situation when he went in. Also Bob Woolmer was keeping close watch on progress and giving instructions. It’s all team effort. Insha Allah, we all will work together as a team, put in big effort and deliver good result all the time and will be able to REPEAT the same result.

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