Greig stood by Sri Lanka, says Ranatunga

Colombo: Remembering Tony Greig, who passed away after losing his battle with lung cancer, Sri Lanka`s World Cup winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga said that former England captain and celebrated commentator stood by Sri Lanka when most others did not.

Referring to the controversy over Muttiah Muralitharan`s no ball in Australia in 1995 and 1999, Ranatunga said, "He was very forthright in his support over Murali incident."

Ranatunga said Greig, who breathed his last at a hospital in Sydney after being brought in a critical condition, was a great admirer of the island nation.

"Not only was he a great admirer of Sri Lanka cricket, he also loved our country," Ranatunga said, adding cricket world would be poorer without Greig,

Greig`s affinity with Sri Lanka dates back to 1973 when he toured the island as a member of the Tony Lewis` England team. He next visited Sri Lanka as England captain in 1977 after beating India 3-1 in the Test series of 1976-77.

The former England captain was made a brand ambassador of Sri Lanka tourism at the end of the conflict with the LTTE.

Ranatunga said that Greig was the first to predict that Sri Lanka would win the World Cup under his leadership in 1996.

The former Lanka skipper, currently an opposition legislator, said that Greig was very frank in his views on the Indian Premier League.

"He (Greig) highlighted the negative aspects of the IPL on international cricket," Ranatunga said.