Strauss and Boycott to be awarded knighthoods

Andrew Strauss leads the teams out to mark Ruth Strauss Foundation Day © Getty Images

Former England opening batsmen Andrew Strauss and Geoffrey Boycott have been awarded knighthoods.

The pair were chosen for the award by former Prime Minister Theresa May as she stepped down from office.

Strauss’ award will surprise few. As England captain, he led the Test team to the No. 1 world ranking and a long-awaited Ashes victory in Australia in 2010-11. Then, as director of the men’s team, he implemented the strategy that resulted in England winning the World Cup earlier this year.

Strauss also harnessed his family’s grief at the tragic death of his wife from cancer at the end of 2018 to set up the Ruth Strauss
Foundation. It has already raised huge sums to combat rare forms of lung cancer, with the Ruth Strauss Foundation Day – marked for the first time at the Ashes Test this year – set to be a feature of future Lord’s Tests. Strauss is 42 years old and has two sons.

The knighthood of Boycott is, perhaps, more controversial. While his pedigree as a cricketer is impeccable – only four men have scored more than his 151 first-class centuries and he was, for a while, the leading Test run scorer – he was, in 1998, convicted in France of assaulting a former girlfriend and received a fine and suspended sentence. He has always maintained his innocence.

In recent years, Boycott has suffered from both cancer and undergone heart surgery. He is 78 years old but continues to be a write a must-read column in the Telegraph and provide insightful, unvarnished views on the BBC’s Test Match Special (TMS).

May, a lifelong cricket lover, was fast-tracked to MCC membership last year and, like her predecessor John Major, spent the time immediately after she stepped down as PM watching England play cricket. She has previously appeared as a guest on TMS where she confessed to her deep admiration of Boycott’s determination.

Despite these turbulent political times, there may be some support for his award from both sides of the House of Commons. Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, is always known to be an ardent admirer and once commented that the first thing he would do upon being appointed Prime Minister would be to offer Boycott a knighthood.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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