In Brief

Alastair Cook to be knighted in the new year honours

Former England captain will be rewarded for his contribution to cricket

Alastair Cook will be knighted in the new year honours and become the first England cricketer to receive the accolade since Ian Botham in 2007.

Getting its information from “Whitehall sources”, The Times says that the decision to make Cook a knight of the realm is in recognition of “his contribution to the sport”.

Cook, who turns 34 on Christmas Day, retired from Test cricket in September after a record-breaking career in which he scored 12,472 runs in 161 Tests and hit 33 centuries.

He bowed out with a century in his final Test match, against India at the Oval, and Cook stands fifth in the list of all-time run-scorers, above all other English batsmen.

Good knight

Despite retiring from Test cricket Cook, who intends to spend more time farming in Bedfordshire, will continue to play for Essex for three more seasons.

This fact again makes Cook unique, says the Times, for no other English cricketing knight has received the honour while still playing first-class cricket.

Len Hutton was knighted in 1956 but, although he played three further matches for MCC, he no longer represented his country or his county Yorkshire.

Cook is the tenth English cricketer to be knighted, the first being Francis Lacey in 1926. Botham, the most recent, was rewarded as much for his efforts in raising £10m for leukaemia research as for his talent with bat and ball. 

King of continuity

Cook was appointed CBE in 2016 and although his powers have waned in the past two years he remained England’s most reliable opening batsman. His durability was also extraordinary and he  played in 159 consecutive Tests, the longest continuous run in Test cricket.

Asked in September why he had taken the decision to retire from Test cricket at the comparatively young age of 33, Cook said: “I started noticing things in my game and preparation were missing. That edge isn’t there.” 

England cricketing knights
  • Francis Lacey, knighted 1926 
  • Pelham Warner, 1937 
  • Jack Hobbs, 1953 
  • Henry Leveson-Gower, 1953 
  • Len Hutton, 1956 
  • Gubby Allen, 1986 
  • Colin Cowdrey, 1992 
  • Alec Bedser, 1997 
  • Ian Botham, 2007 (services to charity)

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