It’s the ultimate form of recognition in any walk of life but who are the cricketers who have received the royal seal of approval that comes with a knighthood?
List of Knighted Cricketers
The list is up to date as of 2022 and it comes in the order in which the players received their knighthoods.
Sir William Henry Milton – 1903, Zimbabwe
Like a number of names on this list, William Milton was a cricketer who happened to be knighted for services outside of the game. In his case, Milton played in South Africa’s first ever test in 1888/89 but went on to become the third ever Administrator of Mashonaland.
Sir Francis Eden Lacey – 1926, England
England’s first ever cricketing knight, Francis Lacey was also the first person to receive a knighthood solely for his services to cricket. Lacey had a brief first class career and never played for England but he did give long service as the Secretary of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Sir Francis Stanley Jackson – 1927, England
He may have played twenty tests for England but Stanley Jackson was knighted for his later services as the Governor of Bengal.
Sir Murray Bisset – 1928, Zimbabwe
Like his compatriot William Milton, Murray Bisset was a South African test cricketer who was later knighted for his services outside of the game. In his case, he became the Chief Justice and, later, the Governor of Southern Rhodesia.
Sir Frederick Charles Toone – 1929, England
Frederick Toone was also knighted for his services to cricket. It’s a strange one because he never played at first class level but he worked tirelessly as an administrator for Leicestershire and Yorkshire.
The Maharajkumar of Vizianagram – 1936, India
India’s first representative is The Maharajkumar of Vizianagram who played three tests for India against England in 1936. A politician, he renounced his knighthood when India gained independence.
Sir Pelham Francis “Plum” Warner – 1937, England
One of the more recognisable names for cricket fans, Plum Warner captained England in ten of his 15 tests. He later became the manager of the team that toured Australia in the Bodyline series of 1932/33.
Sir Charles Aubrey Smith – 1944, England
I had also heard of Charles Aubrey Smith and was aware that he was an actor as well as a cricketer. He played one test for England but his knighthood was awarded for service to Anglo-American amity.
Sir Donald George Bradman – 1949, Australia
It is, perhaps, surprising that Australia has only one cricketing knight as of 2022. There could hardly be anyone more deserving of the accolade as many agree that Don Bradman was the greatest batsman that ever lived.
Sir John Berry “Jack” Hobbs – 1953, England
There would have been something seriously wrong with the system if the great Jack Hobbs hadn’t received a knighthood. In the long history of the game, nobody scored more runs in first class cricket.
Sir Henry Dudley Gresham “Shrimp” Leveson-Gower – 1953, England
H.D.G. Leveson-Gower, as he is more commonly known, played three tests for England but his knighthood was largely given for the work that followed his playing career. He would become an important member of the selection panel.
Sir Leonard “Len” Hutton – 1956, England
Len Hutton was another phenomenal run scorer for the England test side. For many years, he held the world record test score of 364. He also made over 40,000 runs, scoring 129 first class centuries in the process.
The Lord Constantine – 1962, West Indies
The first knighthood to be handed to a player from the West Indies was awarded to Learie Constantine who played 18 tests for his country. However, the award was largely bestowed for his work as a lawyer and politician.
Sir Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrell – 1964, West Indies
Frank Worrell was the first West Indian cricketer to be knighted for services to the sport. A formidable batsman, Worrell scored 3,860 runs in 51 tests.
Sir John Frederick Neville Cardus – 1967, England
Neville Cardus never played first class cricket, but he makes it onto this list for his services to music and cricket journalism.
Sir Garfield St Aubrun “Garry” Sobers – 1975, West Indies
Sir Garry Sobers was arguably the greatest ever cricketing all-rounder and he became the first batsman to hit six sixes in an over. He also broke Len Hutton’s test record, scoring 365 against Pakistan.
Sir Jack Newman – 1977, New Zealand
New Zealand has two cricketing knights but only one was given the award for services to the sport. In the case of Jack Newman, he played three test matches for his country while his knighthood was due to his work in the transport industry.
Sir George Oswald Browning “Gubby” Allen – 1986, England
Another man to be involved in the controversial Bodyline tour of 1932/33, Gubby Allen refused to employ the leg theory tactics. His knighthood came for cricketing reasons – he played 25 tests for England and would later hold a number of administrative positions including Chairman of Selectors.
Sir Richard John Hadlee – 1990, New Zealand
The only man from New Zealand to be given a knighthood for cricketing reasons, Sir Richard Hadlee was his country’s greatest all-rounder and one of the best in the game.
The Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge – 1992, England
More commonly known as Colin Cowdrey, this fine cricketer played for Kent and England for many years, famously making an international comeback in the 1974/75 Ashes series.
Sir Clyde Leopold Walcott – 1993, West Indies
As a member of the ‘Three Ws’ – Weekes, Worrell and Walcott – Clyde Walcott helped the West Indies to become a formidable batting unit. He played test cricket between 1948 and 1960 and also became a coach, commentator and match referee.
Sir Everton de Courcy Weekes – 1995, West Indies
A long-time teammate of Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes was another exceptional batsman from the same era. In 48 tests, he made over 4.400 runs with a highest score of 207.
Sir Alec Victor Bedser – 1996, England
Alec Bedser was a notable all-rounder for England but his knighthood largely recognises the work that he did once his playing days were at an end. Bedser became the President of Surrey County Cricket Club and he worked for many years as England’s Chairman of Selectors.
Sir Conrad Cleophas Hunte – 1998, West Indies
Conrad Hunte was another important member of the West Indies team that showed progress throughout the 1960s. In 44 tests for his country over nine years, he made 3245 runs with eight centuries and an impressive highest score of 260.
Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander “Viv” Richards – 1999, West Indies
Viv Richards has a claim to being the West Indies greatest batsmen of all time. He set some incredible records for his team and was recognised with a knighthood in 1999.
Viv was a part of the West Indies squads that claimed the first two ODI World Cups in 1975 and 1979 and he was a force in all forms of the game. Viv was a great servant to cricket, scoring over 15,000 international runs and he’s since worked as a commentator and mentor.
The Lord Botham of Ravensworth – 2007, England
You’ll know him better as Ian Botham. ‘Beefy’ was the first to acknowledge that this knighthood also recognises his great charity work but it also honours his achievements as a great all-round player.
Reverend Sir Wesley Winfield Hall – 2012, West Indies
The more recent crop of great West Indian fast bowlers owes a significant debt to Wes Hall. Throughout the 1960s, he bowled with genuine pace, taking 192 test wickets and his knighthood is partly due to the legacy that he left for West Indian bowling.
Sir Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose – 2014, West Indies
A number of players were handed knighthoods in 2014 for their services to West Indian cricket. Curtly Ambrose was a fearsome fast bowler who is now making a name in commentary.
Sir Anderson Montgomery Everton “Andy” Roberts – 2014, West Indies
Before Curtly Ambrose and the rest came along, Andy Roberts was the leader of the West Indian pace attack. In fact, he is often referred to as the ‘father’ of modern West Indies fast bowling.
Roberts played international cricket between 1974 and 1983 and he claimed 993 wickets. His knighthood is an acknowledgement of his great work on the field of play.
Sir Richard Benjamin “Richie” Richardson – 2014, West Indies
A highly respected captain among his team mates, former West Indian skipper Richie Richardson now guides the game as a match referee.
Sir Charles Christopher Griffith – 2017, West Indies
Charlie Griffith was, for many years, the natural fast bowling partner of Wes Hall. The two men played together for much of the 1960s and they laid a platform for Andy Roberts and the rest to turn the West Indies into the most feared pace bowling team in the world.
Griffith’s award was purely given for cricketing reasons. He played in just 28 tests between 1960 and 1969, taking 94 wickets in that time.
Sir Alastair Nathan Cook – 2019, England
The only man on this list to still be playing the game as of 2022, Alastair Cook became England’s leading run scorer in a long international career lasting from 2006 to 2018.
We knew he was always going to be special from the moment he made a century on test debut in India in 2006. 12 years later, the man known as Chef signed off with another ton against the same opponents.
His total of 12,472 test runs is an England record by some distance and it may well stand for a long time to come.
Sir Geoffrey Boycott – 2019, England
Geoff Boycott also held England’s test run scoring record at one point. He will feel that the knighthood for services as a player and commentator was long overdue.
Boycott was a stubborn and reliable batsman who churned out over 100 first class centuries in a long career that stretched from 1962 to 1986. He scored 8,114 test runs which remained a record until it was later overtaken by David Gower.
Sir Andrew John Strauss – 2019, England
The first England captain to win the Ashes in Australia for 24 years, Andrew Strauss has also served as an administrator and a commentator. He was a tremendous batter, scoring over 7,000 runs in exactly 100 tests and he was an inspired leader of England in three formats of the game.
His work in cricket following his retirement undoubtedly contributed to Strauss receiving his knighthood in 2019.
Sir Clive Hubert Lloyd – 2020, West Indies
Clive Lloyd’s knighthood may have been overdue and the accolade is certainly deserved. As a long-standing captain of the West Indies, he guided the team to victory in the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979.
He was an inspiration captain who helped to bring through some of the best West Indian players of his and the next generation. After scoring 7,515 test runs in an 18 year career, Clive Lloyd stayed in the game as a manager, coach and commentator and his knighthood acknowledges all of his great work.
Sir Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge – 2020, West Indies
A long-time teammate of Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge was knighted in the same year. A powerful opening batsman, he was a reliable presence at the top of the West Indian order between 1974 and 1991.
Greenidge scored heavily in all forms of the game, but his knighthood also recognises his later work in the development of sport. He later worked as a coach and national selector.