Boycott and Strauss to be knighted

Staff Writer | Sep 12, 2019
Two English cricketers with SA links have been named in Theresa May’s honours list.

Geoffrey Boycott and Andrew Strauss are to be knighted, having been named in former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s honours list.

By tradition in the United Kingdom (UK), the list is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to name individuals who have served the country in some exceptional way, with a knighthood being the highest honour one can achieve.

Boycott and Strauss are veteran English cricketers, both having captained the national side at various times. Boycott only served as an interim captain, heading the team in four Test matches, while Strauss captained England in 50 Tests. They also played in very different eras, with Boycott’s national career beginning in the 1960s and ending in 1981, and Strauss playing for England between 2003 and 2012.

Boycott scored the sixth most runs for England in Test matches, while Strauss is 11th on the list.

Both cricketers also have links to South Africa. Strauss was born in this country, but moved to the UK when he was six. Boycott’s links are more controversial. He joined one of the first ‘rebel’ international sides to tour apartheid South Africa during the country’s exclusion from world sport. He joined an English side which toured South Africa in the early 1980s without the sanction of England’s cricket governing body and in defiance of the global sporting boycott of South Africa.

The award of a knighthood to Boycott has been criticised on these grounds, as well as the fact that he was convicted on a charge of domestic abuse in 1998 for assaulting his girlfriend. Boycott did himself no favours when, on being asked on a radio programme whether or not his domestic abuse conviction should have influenced the decision on his knighthood, he said: ‘I don’t care a toss about her, love. It was 25 years ago.’

 

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