The England Test side doesn’t really feel right without Alastair Cook. “Chef” became adored across the land for his batting prowess, shattering just about every record he could find, and, in his later years, volunteering as tribute to throw his wicket away before the rest of the England lads. In all seriousness, Cook will be remembered as maybe the finest batsman to walk to the crease for England, and it emerged Tuesday that the opener will receive a knighthood for his services to cricket. He will become the first player to be knighted for over a decade. Here are the most famous cricketers to have received the title of “Sir”.
Sir Len Hutton
Between 1937 and 1955, Len Hutton played in 79 Tests for England. In only his sixth ever Test for his country, the Yorkshireman would shatter the existing record for a highest individual innings in a Test match, with a 364 against Australia. In 1952, Hutton became the first professional cricketer to captain England. He was knighted in 1956, a year after his retirement.
The Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge
Now this is on a different level. Colin Cowdrey hit 22 centuries for England in a career spanning 21 years. Knighted in 1992, he became a life peer in 1997 at the recommendation of outgoing Prime Minister (and cricket fanatic) John Major.
Sir Jack Hobbs
Hobbs had a 22 year England career between 1908 and 1930, and averaged a stunning 56.94 in that time. The Cambridge-native was knighted in 1953.
Sir Richard Hadlee
The sole New Zealander on this list, Hadlee is remembered as one of the best fast bowlers to ever do it. Supposedly unplayable on certain days, the moustached harbinger of doom took 431 Test wickets. Knighted in 1990.
Sir Garfield Sobers
‘Garry’ Sobers was knighted in 1975 for his services to cricket, and what services they were! Widely considered to be cricket’s greatest all-rounder, has over 8000 Test runs, and 200 Test wickets. The stuff of dreams!
Sir Curtly Ambrose
A giant of a man in every sense, Ambrose played in 98 Tests between 1988 and 2000. Taking 405 wickets, batsmen would tremble at the thought of having to face up against a man capable of hurling a piece of cork at your head in speeds of around 100 mph. Ambrose was knighted in 2014.
Sir Viv Richards
Viv Richards is known to many as the enigmatic captain of those famous West Indian sides. Skipper from 1984 to 1991, the Windies never lost a Test series with Richards at the helm. Voted one of the five best cricketers of the 20th Century by a panel of 100 experts, Richards was knighted in 1999.
Sir Donald Bradman
Perhaps the greatest cricketer ever, Bradman retired from Test cricket with a batting average of 99.94. That, in all honesty, might be the best achievement of any sportsman throughout history. Scoring just shy of 7000 runs in 52 Tests, Bradman was knighted upon retirement in 1949.
Sir Ian Botham
The England all-rounder received a knighthood in 2007, but perhaps commendably, not for his services to cricket. Botham’s relentless charity work was recognised in the 2007 New Year’s Honours List, raising money for an organisation committed to beating blood cancer.