We are delighted to confirm that Old Bedfordian Alastair Cook (98-03) has received a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours, becoming the first England cricketer to receive a knighthood for a decade.
We could not be more proud of Alastair, who joined Bedford School in 1998 as a boarder, aged 13. He came to the school as a music scholar from St Paul’s Cathedral School where he was a chorister. He also played the clarinet to grade eight and went on to learn the piano and saxophone. However, music soon took a back seat when the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) came to play against our 1st XI. The visitors were a man short and Alastair stepped in, scoring a century against his new school.
His early promise flourished throughout the years: seventeen centuries and two double-hundreds to total 4,396 runs at an average of 87.90, captaining the cricket team in his final year, as well as being President of the Music Society. In his final year, he scored 1,287 runs for the school, including two unbeaten double-hundreds, averaging 160.87 to take the school record.
This was just the start of a fairy tale career in the sport; Alastair became England’s greatest-ever batsman. When he retired from Test cricket at the end of this summer he had scored more runs, more centuries and more half-centuries than any other player from these shores in history. He is also England’s most-capped player in Test matches.
Alastair has been, and continues to be, a true inspiration to everyone at Bedford School. He is, without doubt, a shining example of true sportsmanship, great leadership, personal fortitude and conviction. We are hugely proud of all that he has achieved and a knighthood really is the most honourable recognition of his achievements, his character and everything he has given to the sporting world.
Here are just some of Alastair’s incredible achievements:
- Captain for a record 59 Tests and 69 One Day Internationals – more than any other England Captain.
- Ashes victories in 2009, 2010-11, and as Captain in 2013 and 2015.
- Captain for 92 One Day Internationals – another England record.
- The first player to score a century at every Australian Test ground: 116 Perth 2006, 235* Brisbane 2010, 148 Adelaide 2010, 189 Sydney 2011 and 244* Melbourne 2017
- Youngest player (from any country) to score 7,000, 8,000, 9,000, 10,000 and 11,000 runs in Test cricket.
- Youngest Englishman to score 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000 Test runs.
- Most Test centuries by England skipper, surpassing Graham Gooch’s record of 11.
- England’s most capped player in Tests, surpassing Alec Stewart’s record of 134.
- First England cricketer to be involved in 50 Test wins.
- Most Test runs for England (broke the record at 8,901 runs).
- The first captain worldwide to score a century in first five Tests.
- Most Test centuries for England (broke the record at 23 centuries).
- England’s record partnership in Australia, world record partnership and innings at The Gabba (329 with Jonathan Trott, 235 not out).
- Only Englishman (second worldwide) to score 1,000 runs in a maiden year.