Greig Christmas video emerges
Mat Mackay, WWOS
18:30 AEST Sun Dec 30 2012

Tony Greig appeared happy and seemingly in good health in the days before his death, according to never-before-seen footage.

A family video, recorded on Christmas Day and released by the Greig family to Channel Nine, shows the 66-year-old with his wife Vivian and their two youngest children, Tom and Beau.

Greig, who died from a heart attack yesterday after being diagnosed with lung cancer in October, appeared in good spirits as he introduced the video in the style that endeared him to cricket fans around the world.

“Ok, well here we go, this is Christmas 2012, have a look at the wonderful tree, lovely little family all together and now we can start opening the presents,” he said.

The video was posted privately online by his eldest son, Mark, on Christmas Day and is believed to have been shared with relatives and close friends.

It includes photographs of Greig playing table tennis on an outdoor dining table and images of his youngest child, Tom, wearing a cricket jersey from South Africa, where his father was born.

The video emerged on the day that tributes flowed from around the world for the former England captain who helped the rebel World Series Cricket get underway in the late 1970s.

While initially ostracised in England for his role in signing players for WSC, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) paid tribute to a ‘giant of a man’.

"Tony Greig was an extremely talented all-round cricketer and captain," said the board's chief executive David Collier.

"He will be fondly remembered for his informed commentaries, his embracing of innovation to enhance the game including day and night cricket, as well as his performances on the field of play."

ECB chairman Giles Clarke described Greig as "a magnificent and fearless cricketer capable of changing games with ball or bat" and a "determined supporter of players' rights".

Greig's commentating partner Richie Benaud said Greig lost the England captaincy because of his role in helping craft World Series Cricket - which added to his respect in Australia.

"When World Series Cricket was on they knew the things he had done to make World Series Cricket a success - which meant he, as England captain, had to be negotiating with players in secret," former Australian captain Benaud told the Nine Network on Sunday.

"All those things when they eventually came out put pressure on Tony because he was the head of England, he was sacked from the captaincy.

"He ploughed his way through it, smoothly and roughly."

Greig is expected to be honoured during the New Year's Test in his hometown Sydney, next week.

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