Geoffrey Boycott is one of the greatest batsmen of all time. His 22 centuries for England is a record he holds jointly with Walter Hammond and Colin Cowdrey, with the small matter of 151 first class hundreds in total. Now Cricket’s most outspoken commentator Geoffrey works with many worldwide cricket broadcasters including Channel 5 and BBC Test Match Special.
As a Cricketer:
Geoffrey Boycott was born in Fitzwilliam in Yorkshire and began playing for his home county in 1962.
He began his Test career only two years later, in the first Test of the summer against Australia. Over the next 18 years he scored 8,114 runs in 108 Test matches for England. He was the first England cricketer to pass 8,000 Test runs. His Test career included 22 centuries (an England record that he holds jointly with Wally Hammond and Colin Cowdrey). In August 1977 he scored 191 against Australia in the fourth Test at Leeds, becoming the first cricketer to score his one hundredth first class century in a Test match.
Geoffrey’s highest Test score was 246 not out in June 1967.
In Barbados in January 1974, playing for the touring England XI, he scored a career-best 261 not out against a West Indies Board President’s XI including Andy Roberts and a young Michael Holding.
In his “comeback” Test against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1977 he famously ran out Derek Randall in front of his home crowd before going to make a century.
Appointed vice-captain for the ensuing tour of Pakistan and New Zealand that winter, Boycott took over as captain in 1978 for two Tests when Mike Brearley was injured.
Against Australia at Perth in 1979-80, he became the first man to be marooned on 99 not out in a Test when he ran out of partners. In 1982 at Edgbaston he provided the rare spectacle of an established batsman being junior partner to a tail ender, when he and Graham Stevenson added 149 for Yorkshire’s tenth wicket against Warwickshire; Stevenson scored 115 of them.
As well as a batsman, Geoffrey was also a medium-pace bowler, often bowling while wearing his cap turned back-to-front, but was never a genuine all-rounder. He took seven wickets at Test level at an average of 54.57.
On 16 August 2003, Geoffrey was given a standing ovation by the crowd at Trent Bridge as he and a number of other cricketers did a lap of the ground in vehicles to celebrate Trent Bridge’s 50th Test match.
As a Commentator:
Geoffrey has renewed his renown, with his ‘pull-no-punches’ style in contrast to the ‘let’s-try-not-to-offend’ style of most of his fellow commentators. In particular he is known for criticizing players. Once, after witnessing a dropped catch, he said “I reckon my mum could have caught that in her pinny”, and in 2005 he mocked the Australian captain Ricky Ponting for electing to bowl first on a flat track, saying he was a “nice man” for being so generous to the England team.
He hosted The Boycs and Suni Show with Sunil Gavaskar in India.
He was offered a role by talkSPORT, along with various satellite and Asian channels, until 2003, when his career was further threatened by throat cancer. Having successfully undergone chemotherapy, Boycott’s career enjoyed a renaissance as he returned to high-profile commentating with Channel 4, which had meanwhile taken over from the BBC in televising England’s home Test games. In November 2005, Boycott rejoined the BBC’s Test Match Special to provide commentary for England’s 2005 tour of Pakistan. In January 2006, Boycott joined Asian channel Ten Sports. He delivered the Colin Cowdrey Lecture in 2005, speaking about the need for cricket to adapt to changing circumstances and embrace innovations like Twenty20.
He currently commentates on Cricket on Five with Mark Nicholas and Simon Hughes as his co-commentators. Geoffrey is also a regular member of the BBC Test Match Cricket Special Team. His role, as in his other commentary-related work, is to contribute to discussion of the main talking points. During England’s 5–0 whitewash by Australia, Geoffrey stated that the team were undeserving of their MBEs and that he felt “so bad about mine I’m going to tie it round my cat. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s a joke”. He has been credited as having a high level of influence in the game, with Yorkshire’s Chief Executive Stewart Regan crediting Geoffrey over the completion of a deal for Younis Khan to play county cricket for Yorkshire in the 2007 Season. On a larger scale, Geoffrey has worked towards scrapping the rule at Yorkshire regarding the number of overseas players. He stated that he believed Brian Close and the other selectors to be living in past times, and that he wished to encourage a growth in the number of players from Pakistan, the West Indies or India.
Geoffrey is the outspoken voice of world cricket.
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