Ex-England captains Strauss, Boycott receive knighthoods

LONDON (AP) — Former England cricket captains Andrew Strauss and Geoffrey Boycott have been given knighthoods in former Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation honors list.

The two opening batsmen were the only sporting names in a list largely consisting of political figures, a nod to May’s lifelong love of cricket and her admiration for Boycott in particular.

Strauss played 100 tests for England from 2004-12, scoring more than 7,000 runs at an average of 40.91, and captaining the team to two Ashes series wins. Less than three years after retiring, he became the most powerful official in the English game as managing director. He was the unseen administrative architect behind England’s first World Cup triumph in July.

Boycott’s 108 tests from 1964-82 brought him 8,114 runs at 47.72 — the first man to reach 8,000 in tests for England. He captained England in four tests in 1978, deputizing for the injured Mike Brearley.

At a news conference last November, May was asked in the form of a cricketing analogy about the number of ministerial resignations, or “wickets,” over her handling of Brexit.

“One of my cricket heroes was always Geoffrey Boycott, and what do you know about Geoffrey Boycott?” she asked. “He stuck to it, and he got the runs in the end.”

Boycott was forced to apologize in 2017 after joking that would have to “black up” to be considered for a knighthood, pointing out the honor had been bestowed on West Indies cricketers including Sir Viv Richards, Sir Garfield Sobers, and Sir Curtly Ambrose.

He was also given a three-month suspended prison sentence in 1998 after being convicted of assault against former girlfriend Margaret Moore. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2002 but made a full recovery and returned to TV commentating.