English cricketers who have received knighthoods
Cook joins an illustrious list.
Former England captain Alastair Cook is set to receive a knighthood for services to cricket mere months after bringing a distinguished international career to an end.
Cook becomes the first English cricketer to be bestowed the honour since 2007 when Sir Ian Botham was knighted, not only for his impact in cricket but in recognition of his charity work, too.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at other English cricketers to receive the distinction.
First-class statistics: Matches: 50; Runs scored: 2,589; Wickets: 52.
The former Hampshire captain became the first person to be knighted for services to any sport in 1926 upon retiring from his role as secretary of the Marylebone Cricket Club, a position he held for 28 years. Lacey was responsible for ushering in a more professional and business-like tone during his time at the MCC.
Tests: 15; Runs: 622; Hundreds: 1; Batting average: 23.92.
Known affectionately as Plum or the ‘Grand Old Man’ of English cricket, the Trinidad-born Warner captained England in 10 of his 15 Tests, regaining the Ashes in 1903-04, while he is one of only two players – alongside Jack Hobbs – to earn the coveted honour of Wisden Cricketer of the Year twice. The enthusiastic Warner boasted an insatiable appetite for the sport, serving in a number of administrative roles after his playing retirement, and he was knighted in 1937.
Tests: 61; Runs 5,140; Hundreds: 15; Batting average: 56.94.
A playing career that spanned almost 30 years saw ‘The Master’ retire into his fifties having set new batting benchmarks for the most first-class runs (a staggering 61,760) and centuries (199) during his time with Surrey and England. Those records are unlikely to be broken and, unsurprisingly, Hobbs is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all-time – Wisden named him one of the five cricketers of the century in 2000 – while he became the first professional cricketer to be knighted in 1953.
Tests: 3; Runs: 95; Hundreds: 0; Batting average: 23.75.
A nickname of ‘Shrimp’ that stuck with him throughout his playing career, Leveson-Gower was knighted in the same year as former Surrey and England team-mate Hobbs. However, Leveson-Gower, who captained England in all three Tests he played in South Africa in 1910, received the honour in recognition of being a legislator and a long-serving England Test selector following the end of his playing days.
Tests: 79; Runs: 6,791; Hundreds: 19; Batting average: 56.67.
The Yorkshireman was taking his first tentative steps into the game in 1934 just as Hobbs was preparing to bow out but the pair are indelibly linked as two of the finest openers England have produced. A more circumspect batsman than Hobbs, former England captain Hutton’s international career spanned 18 years, and his 364 against Australia in 1938 stood as the highest individual score in Tests for 20 years and remains an England record. He racked up 129 first-class centuries and retired in 1955, with his knighthood following a year later.
Tests: 25; Runs: 750; Hundreds: 1; Batting average: 24.19; Wickets: 81; Bowling average: 29.37.
Allen, an all-rounder with some pedigree, refused to employ the inflammatory leg-theory tactics favoured by Douglas Jardine during the ‘Bodyline’ Ashes series in 1932-33 but his occasionally devastating fast bowling still reaped 21 wickets. He went on to skipper England in 11 Tests while his first-class career with Middlesex spanned four decades. After retiring from a variety of administrative positions, he was knighted in 1986.
Tests: 114; Runs: 7,264; Hundreds: 22; Batting average: 44.06.
The first cricketer to reach 100 Test matches, Cowdrey celebrated the occasion with a century against Australia at Birmingham in 1968. The Kent batsman’s international career saw him become the most prolific Test run-scorer while his 22 Test centuries for England was not surpassed until 2013. His achievements were recognised in 1992 in the Honours List while he became the first English cricketer to be given a peerage five years later.
Tests: 51; Wickets: 236; Bowling average: 24.89.
A one-time holder of the world record for leading Test wicket-taker, Bedser is widely regarded as one of the best fast bowlers in England’s history during an international career that started in 1946 and ended in 1955. He featured regularly alongside his twin Eric for Surrey and finished with nearly 2,000 first-class wickets. After his playing retirement he became the county’s president and was knighted in 1997.
Tests: 102; Runs: 5,200; Hundreds: 14; Batting average: 33.54; Wickets: 383; Bowling average: 28.4.
Undoubtedly England’s finest all-rounder, when Botham was on a roll he proved difficult to stop. His contributions almost single-handedly decided the outcome of the 1981 Ashes and when he retired from playing he held the record for the leading Test wicket-taker of all-time. Botham’s charity work, in which he raised millions of pounds for leukaemia research, saw him become the first English cricketer to be knighted in this century.
Tests: 161; Runs: 12,472; Hundreds: 33; Batting average: 45.35.
England’s leading Test run-scorer by a distance – Cook’s mentor Graham Gooch is next on the list with 8,900 – the Essex left-hander may not have been the most stylish or fluent batsman but there is no arguing with the results. Man of the series when England claimed seminal series victories in India and Australia, the affable Cook was usually relied upon to lay the platform at the top of the order. He announced his international retirement last summer and finished with a fairytale century in his final England innings against India at The Oval.