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Cook receives the ultimate honour in New Years Honours list.
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England’s greatest ever batsman Alastair Cook has been knighted after the news was confirmed late on December 28.
Cook is the first cricketer to be knighted since Sir Ian Botham in 2007 and just the 11th English player to receive the prestigious honour after a record-breaking international career.
The former captain holds records for the most runs, hundreds and caps in an England career where he also broke the world record for most consecutive Test appearances, ending with 159 at the Kia Oval where he had a fairy-tale ending, scoring a century in the victory over India.
Meanwhile, Matt Maynard has been awarded an MBE for services to sport and charity. The former Glamorgan and England batsman set-up the Tom Maynard Trust following the tragic loss of his son in 2012.
Maynard has worked closely with the PCA and the Professional Cricketers’ Trust which has included three joint fundraisers between the two charities on the ‘Big Bike Rides’. Work is well under way for another joint venture in October 2019.
England Women’s great Enid Bakewell, has received an MBE to celebrate her 14-year international career, while former Warwickshire batsman Alvin Kallicharran has been recognised with a British Empire Medal.
The 34-year-old, Cook, has received the highest honour after a 12-year international career and is still set to continue playing in county cricket with Essex after signing a three-year contract in September.
Professional Cricketers’ Association President Graham Gooch has hailed Cook’s recognition in the New Years Honours list.
“To be knighted whilst still playing is a really special achievement. It is a great honour for him and our sport,” said Gooch.
“Alastair embodies everything which is good about our sport. The way he has carried himself and the example he has set to future generations of cricketers, both those who aspire to be professional cricketers and in the recreational game.
“He is complete role model as a person and as a cricketer so huge congratulations from me personally and on behalf of the PCA.”
Gooch is second on the list of record run scorers for England and oversaw a large part of ‘Chef’s’ career at Essex and then with England where he held the position of batting coach. Often referred to as Cook’s mentor, the 65-year-old explains how hard he worked at his game to stay at the top for so long.
“It’s well deserved for the dedication he has shown to the cause, for club and country. If you wanted an individual who epitomised the brand of cricket and how to fulfil your potential he would be the one.
“When I worked with him on his game at Essex and England he was a great example of how to think about yourself, how to dedicate yourself to your sport and how to improve.
“He worked tremendously hard at his game, to put himself in a place to be record run scorer, number of Tests and all the other records. This has not been given to him, he worked fantastically hard to get to that level and to maintain the level over such a long period of time.
“One of his greatest achievements is having 159 consecutive Tests and he maintained his standard pretty much all the way through which is an amazing record and achievements all the way through because it’s very tough to maintain standards like he has.”
“If you wanted an individual who epitomised the brand of cricket and how to fulfil your potential he would be the one.”
GRAHAM GOOCH, PCA PRESIDENT
Honoured for the contribution to his sport, Gooch does not think the new title will Cook and is eager to see him line up for Essex in 2019 and beyond.
“I think he’ll have received the news on his tractor, getting the sheep in and what he normally does on the farm and with the family.
“I don’t think we’ve had a Sir opening the batting for Essex before. I think we will have to add ‘Sir’ to the scorecards next year but I’m not sure he’ll be wanting ‘Sir Chef’ on the back of his playing shirt!”