“Sir” Geoffrey and the real knights

(Don’t worry, there are no jokes about Sir Ravindra Jadeja here)

Just in case you missed this:

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/sport/national/15487692.Geoffrey_Boycott_to_continue_on_TMS_after_apologising_for____unacceptable____comment/

How far was he justified in saying that it was much easier to be knighted if you were a West Indian cricketer rather than an English cricketer? These are the facts:

Firstly, the British sovereign proclaims someone a knight based on the recommendations of the government of the day. The gentleman concerned would be a citizen of the U.K. or one of the other countries which presently regard the British sovereign (presently Queen Elizabeth II) as their head of state. The countries of interest here are Australia, New Zealand and some (but not all) of the countries of the West Indies. Canada is also included, although it has not produced any famous cricketers yet. Those countries who do not regard the Queen as the Head of State include many Commonwealth countries such as India and its neighbors, besides South Africa. This should make it clear:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_headed_by_Elizabeth_II

It appears that the governments of the West Indies countries take their own decisions as to who is to be knighted.

So here is a list of those who were knighted for their services to cricket, besides some cricketers who were knighted for other reasons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cricketers_who_were_knighted

Another article on cricketing knights from the West Indies:

http://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/26392726

Another general article which summarizes the topic:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/60096.html

Now, even the list from England includes some names which most reasonably well-informed cricket fans of today would not have heard of (e.g. Lacey, Toone and Leveson Gower whose first-class cricket careers were nothing exceptional-even though the last named played 3 Tests).

Among the West Indians, all of them would be considered as among the most eminent cricketers in the last few decades. The only exception might be Richie Richardson who did not have as successful a career:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/60096.html

(Even so, he played 86 Tests and scored 16 centuries, with almost 6000 runs at an average of 44) and was captain for some time.

So was Geoffrey justified in complaining? A difficult question, but he probably was wrong. And his way of putting it was highly politically incorrect. Perhaps he should go back to chasing lesser-known Indian actresses.

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