England cricket great Tony Greig has thanked Sri Lankans for their prayers and support ever since he has been diagnosed with a form of lung cancer.
"It's a very special feeling in the heart of someone to know that there is a nation of cricket lovers like the Sri Lankans who care about an individual like myself," said the former England skipper speaking exlusively to a Sri Lankan television channel 'News 1st'.
Ever since this shocking news broke out on Saturday, there has been an outpouring of sympathy and messages of support posted on websites praying for his recovery from Sri Lankans around the world.
The South African-born Greig became a household name in Sri Lanka for his unbiased commentary particularly in the run-up to the islanders' triumphant World Cup campaign in 1996.
"Well as everyone knows Sri Lanka is very dear to my heart. I have a relationship that goes back a long way even before that wonderful victory in the 1996 World Cup," he said.
He was one of the few who believed that co-hosts Sri Lanka led by the mercurial Arjuna Ranatunga would win the World Cup.
"I predicted that they would win because I thought they just played wonderful cricket and were lovely characters," said Greig who endeared himself to cricket fans with his incisive commentary delivered in a lyrical tone.
Greig, 66, first became aware he had a problem during Australia's one-day series against Pakistan in Dubai in August and September, on which he was commentating.
Initially diagnosed with bronchitis in May, the condition lingered and, by the time of the ICC World Twenty20 that finished in Sri Lanka earlier this month, Greig had tests that revealed a small lesion at the base of his right lung.
"You've no idea what it means to me to have received the support that I have from so many Sri Lankans in so many different ways since the announcement of my illness," he said.
"I'm so grateful for that and for all your prayers. Thank you so much."