|Birth Day:||October 21, 1940|
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He lost his spleen when he was impaled by the handle of a mangle when he was eight years old.
When Boycott was eight years old, he was impaled through his chest by the handle of a mangle after falling off an iron railing near his home. Boycott nearly died, and in the efforts to save his life, his spleen was removed. In March 1950, Boycott's father had a serious accident while working as a coalminer, suffering severe damage to his spine after he was hit by empty coal carts: he never fully recovered, and died in 1967.
While studying for his O-levels, he began to have difficulty reading the blackboard and was initially devastated when told he would need glasses. At first, his cricket playing suffered, encumbered by the fragile spectacles. However, matters improved when a more robust pair, similar to those glasses worn by cricketer Roy Marshall, were fashioned for him at the behest of his maternal uncle, Albert Speight. Albert would go on to be a strong influence on Boycott's early cricketing game while playing for Brierley Juniors Football Club. In 1958, Boycott left school with seven O-level passes and the school's Individual Cricket Cup. That summer he played for the Leeds United under-18 football team alongside Billy Bremner and attracted the attention of Leeds United scouts. During the winter he continued to play nets with uncle Lawrence.
Before he played in first-class cricket, Boycott played for the successful Barnsley Cricket Club, making his debut in 1959 and becoming a regular team member that year alongside Dickie Bird and Michael Parkinson. In one match against Scarborough, Boycott faced a delivery from Bill Foord which he dispatched to the boundary for four. Foord turned to Parkinson and asked: "Christ almighty, what's this lad's name?" Bird remembered his "application, concentration and absolute belief in himself. He had one great gift, mental strength. You can have all the coaching in the world but the most important thing is to be mentally strong." Although Bird later left Boycott out of his choice XI, he would write: "of all the great players I have seen, if I had to pick a batsman to bat for my life, I would go for Geoffrey." He made his Yorkshire Second XI debut on 6 July 1959 against Cumberland at Penrith, scoring five and 15.
Boycott began playing for his home county in 1962 after topping the averages for Leeds, Yorkshire Colts and Yorkshire Second XI. In 414 matches for Yorkshire he scored 32,570 runs at an average of 57.85, with a highest score of 260 not out against Essex, and 103 centuries in all. He scored another 8,699 runs in List A cricket, averaging 40.08. Boycott twice averaged over 100 in an English first-class season: 100.12 in 1971, and 102.53 in 1979. He is one of only two players to have achieved this twice, Mark Ramprakash was the other. Boycott was appointed captain of Yorkshire in 1971, but was sacked in 1978 after failing to win a trophy while in charge. He was then dismissed as a player, but reinstated after a members' revolt. During his career Boycott frequently clashed with other strong personalities at the club, including Fred Trueman, Brian Close and Ray Illingworth, but remained popular with the Yorkshire crowds.
Boycott made his Yorkshire first-team debut on 16 June 1962 against the Pakistan touring team. He opened the batting, scoring four in both innings – the first from a boundary off of his first ball in first-class cricket – and taking one catch, but he did not bowl. He went on to play his first County Championship match the next day, on 20 June, against Northamptonshire. Batting at number four, he scored six and 21*.
Early in his career, Boycott continued to play in his spectacles, and later switched to contact lenses. He feared his career would have ended had he not used such aids as his eyesight was poor. Boycott's initial appearances for Yorkshire failed to impress, and he was compared unfavourably to his main rival, John Hampshire. When Brian Close took over from Vic Wilson as captain of Yorkshire in 1963 he persuaded the committee to keep Boycott on, and was rewarded when, on 2 June 1963, Boycott scored 145 against Lancashire. His century was also part of a 249-run fourth-wicket partnership which became a Yorkshire record. Boycott cemented his place in the Yorkshire XI in the 1963 season with successive scores of 76, 53, 49 not out and 50, and on 29 August made a century partnership in both innings of a match against Leicestershire with Ken Taylor. Boycott handed in his notice to the Ministry of Pensions that same year. After a brief loss of form he kept his place with scores of 62, 28 and 113 in the following matches. This second century again came against Lancashire, making Boycott the first Yorkshire cricketer to score his first two centuries in a Roses match, as the hotly contested Yorkshire versus Lancashire matches were termed.
Boycott went on to hit his highest score thus far, 165 not out, against Leicestershire, and ended his first full season with 1,446 runs at an average of 46.64, placing him second in the 1963 national batting averages. He was awarded his county cap on 2 October. At the start of the 1964 season Boycott hit 151 against Middlesex, followed by another hundred against Lancashire in May, and then played for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against the Australian touring side at Lord's, where he scored 63. On 16 May he completed a third consecutive century, and on 31 May he was called up for the First Test against Australia at Trent Bridge. By the end of the 1964 season, Boycott had topped the country's domestic averages with 59.45.
Boycott began his Test career on 4 June 1964, only two years after his first-class debut, in the first Test against Australia. He top scored with 48 runs from 118 deliveries before he was bowled by Grahame Corling. The match ended as a rain-affected draw, and Boycott did not bat in the second innings as he had suffered a cracked finger. He made 58 at Old Trafford, and then hit 113 at The Oval, his maiden Test century. He finished his first Test series with 291 runs at 48.50.
Boycott told the BBC in 1965 that he chose to leave school at 17 because he no longer wished to be a financial strain on his parents, and because he wanted to pursue his cricketing career. He worked as a clerk in the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance in Barnsley from 1958 to 1963, at the same time playing for a number of cricket clubs. Boycott captained the South Elmsall district team and achieved a batting average of 70. He also played for the Yorkshire Federation's Under-18 team and for Barnsley, where he was noticed by Clifford Hesketh, a member of Yorkshire's County Cricket team committee.
Although he later became renowned for his ability to occupy the crease for hours of defensive play, he was capable of playing attacking cricket. His highest one day score, a match-winning 146, came in the 1965 Gillette Cup final against Surrey. In his previous Gillette Cup match, the quarter-final against Somerset, Boycott took 32 overs to accumulate 23 runs.
Boycott subsequently hit 15 fours and three sixes, even though the modern-day fielding restrictions, which facilitate rapid scoring, did not exist in 1965. One shot, a lofted straight drive off England paceman Geoff Arnold was nearly caught by Boycott's teammates on the players' balcony in the pavilion. Close and Boycott added 192 runs for the second wicket, as Yorkshire posted a then-record total of 317. Cricket writer John Woodcock wrote in The Times that "his magnificent innings contained every stroke in the book. "
England hosted New Zealand and South Africa in 1965. Against New Zealand, Boycott scored 23 and 44 not out in the first Test at Edgbaston and 76 in the second at Lord's, but missed the third Test owing to injury. He returned against South Africa at Lord's, but after scores of 31 and a slow 28 in 105 minutes, the press began to speculate that he may lose his place in the team. In the second Test, Boycott made a duck in the first innings and later took 140 minutes to score 16 runs when England needed to score quickly; Wisden described the latter innings as a "dreadful effort when courage was needed". Subsequently, Boycott was dropped and replaced by Eric Russell. Boycott returned to the team at the end of the season for the tour to Australia. In the 1965-66 Ashes series, illness dogged his performance initially. He then hit a form of "brighter cricket" during the First and Second Tests. Uncharacteristically, he hit a four from his very first delivery at Perth, and put on 98 in 16 overs with Bob Barber in the Second Test. In the Third Test, Boycott and Barber shared an opening partnership of 234 in four hours; Boycott hit 84, his highest score of the series. But in the Fifth Test he monopolised the strike, ran out Bob Barber and took 75 minutes to make 17 runs. His form deserted him again when the MCC went on to tour New Zealand.
In the 1966 season Boycott scored two centuries in one match for the first time, against Nottinghamshire on 18 July. Against Leicestershire on 15 June 1968 he carried his bat through an entire Yorkshire innings of 297 all out, remaining unbeaten on 114*. It was the first time he had been unbeaten at the end of an innings. He ended the season top of the national averages for the first time. On 27 July 1970 he scored 260*, his highest first-class score in England, against Essex. At the end of the season, Close was sacked by the club committee in what Boycott called in 1987 "one of the cruellest incidents in the history of sport." Boycott, on tour in Australia, was awarded the captaincy.
In 1966, England faced the West Indies. Boycott was omitted from the first Test, but shared a partnership of 115 with Tom Graveney. However, he struggled during the series and managed an average of 26.57. It was a disappointing year for Boycott both for England and Yorkshire, and his average for the former fell to 36.60. Furthermore, he had only passed 50 twice in his last 12 first-class innings. The following summer, he rediscovered his form. On 8 and 9 June 1967, he made his highest Test score of 246 not out against India on his home ground of Headingley. Batting for 573 minutes, Boycott struck thirty fours and a six at a strike rate of 44.32. He began his innings slowly, taking six hours over his first 106 runs; he scored 17 in the first hour and 8 in the second. This particularly frustrated the England selectors as the pitch was excellent for batting, and the Indian attack was weakened by injury. Their frustration was exacerbated when Boycott added 140 runs in four hours on the second day. He did not bat in the second innings and England won by six wickets.
Over the next two years, Boycott appeared only intermittently in the Test team. A back injury forced him to miss half of the 1967 season, and an average of 32.40 against the Australians during the 1968 Ashes was unspectacular. Domestically, his injury also limited his contribution; however, he did hit five centuries before he was forced to stop playing in June 1968. Health problems with his spleen and trouble adjusting to wearing contact lenses meant that Boycott missed the tour of Pakistan in 1967–68, but he returned to the team by the summer of 1969, scoring 128 against the West Indies at Old Trafford, and another century at Lord's. However, he lost form in the rest of the season; he scored 12 and 0 in the third Test and averaged only 20.20, with two ducks, in the three Tests against New Zealand.
Boycott captained Yorkshire for eight seasons from 1971 to 1978, having been appointed following the sacking of Brian Close in 1970. Despite well publicised conflict between the two players, Boycott recorded in 1987 that he regretted Close's removal from the club, and wrote him a letter in admiration for his contributions to Yorkshire. To captain Yorkshire had been one of Boycott's aims since he started county cricket in 1962. Yorkshire's scorer Ted Lester commented later that Boycott "never got the support he deserved from the committee. After the captaincy was decided on a casting vote, the half that didn't want him never wanted him." Some members of the committee wanted to remove him almost immediately. He also caused strife between his fellow players, including a reciprocated dislike for Richard Hutton, with many players leaving the club citing personal differences with Boycott as the reason for their departure.
Boycott was left out of the first three Tests against the World XI in 1970; he played in the fourth and scored 15 and 64, and in the final Test of the summer scored 157. He won the Walter Lawrence Trophy for this century. He was selected for the 1970–71 tour of Australia, and averaged 95.93 over all first-class matches. He scored 173 in the opening first-class game, followed by 124 against Queensland. In the third Test match, having hit good partnerships in the first two, Boycott made 77 and 142 not out. During the second match, Boycott allegedly told Basil D'Oliveira, the latter having just announced that he had worked out the action of Australian spinner Johnny Gleeson, that he had "sorted that out a fortnight ago."
In 1971, Boycott made his One Day International debut against Australia, the press by then touting him as the best batsman in the world. He was the first batsman to receive a ball in a one-day international and his was the first wicket to fall, after he had scored eight runs from 37 balls. In the summer of 1971 he enjoyed an average of over 100 in domestic cricket, and scored 121 not out against Pakistan at Lord's.
Boycott headed the national batting averages in 1972 with 72.35, and was second in 1973 with 63.62. In 1973, however, Yorkshire failed to win any of the 8 championship games with Boycott in charge, and Wisden called the season "disturbingly unsuccessful". It led to further calls for Boycott to be stripped of the captaincy. He was also coming into increased conflict with Richard Hutton, Close, and several members of the committee and senior players. "Looking back," Boycott wrote in 1987 "I wish I had given up the Yorkshire captaincy at the end of that year."
He played only two Tests in 1972 owing to a series of injuries, but rejoined the team in the West Indies under Denness's captaincy. Boycott was dismissed for 99 in the first innings against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1973–74 and scored 112 in the second, followed by a career-best first-class score of 261 not out against a West Indies Board President's XI.
In 1974 Boycott's form dipped, when he scored only 75 runs in the first innings of the season, other than a non-championship century against Cambridge University. He did, however, score 152* against Worcestershire on 15 May to complete his tour of centuries against every first-class county. Both he and Yorkshire suffered through 1975 and 1976, as did his international career, since he refused to play for England from 1974 until 1977. During the summer of 1978 Boycott broke a finger, so John Hampshire temporarily took over as captain. Boycott returned later in the season, scoring 968 runs at 50.94, but this was second to Hampshire's 1,463 at 54.18. A poll of the dressing room showed that 95% of the players wanted a permanent change in the captaincy. On 27 September 1978 Boycott's mother, to whom he was very close, died of cancer, placing further pressure on him. She was buried on 2 October. On 29 September, the Yorkshire club committee met with Boycott to discuss terminating his captaincy. A statement by the club outlined Yorkshire's intention to retain Boycott as a player while giving the captaincy to Hampshire. Boycott, in response, attacked the Yorkshire club and its decision in an appearance on the BBC's flagship chatshow Parkinson on 7 October, prompting both strong criticism from the club and strong public support for his own position.
Between 1974 and 1977, Boycott elected to make himself unavailable for England. He said in 2006 that he had simply lost his appetite for Test cricket and the stress became too much for him. Boycott's biographer, McKinstry, speculates that the self-imposed exile may also have been linked to the appointments of Mike Denness and then Tony Greig to the England captaincy, in preference to Boycott. Boycott was very critical of Denness's captaincy and his standard of batting in his autobiography in 1987, citing it as a factor in his decision, along with the pressures at Yorkshire. His weak immune system was a recurring motivation for not touring the Indian subcontinent. This period of exile coincided with the peaks of several fast bowlers' careers, including Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Andy Roberts, and Michael Holding. However, he later came back to face the West Indies pace battery at its most fearsome in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The reason why these figures cover only 191 of Boycott's 193 Test innings is because he batted at No.4 in both innings of the third Test against West Indies at Bridgetown in March 1974 (after Denness, Amiss and Jameson). He opened the batting in the other four Tests in that series.
In the meantime, "When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease" was released by Roy Harper in 1975, and again in 1978, dedicated to Boycott and John Snow.
When Boycott returned to the Test side against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1977 he ran out Derek Randall in front of his home crowd before going on to make a century. In this match, in which Ian Botham made his England debut, Boycott batted on each of the five days of the match: his first innings 107 started at the end of the first day, he batted throughout the second day and was dismissed on the third day; he started his second innings at the end of day four and batted throughout England's successful run chase scoring 80 not out, scoring the winning runs in partnership with Randall. Among England batsmen, only Allan Lamb, Andrew Flintoff and Rory Burns have emulated this feat of batting on all five days, and all three subsequent to Boycott. He also had a 215-run partnership with Alan Knott. Botham later remarked that "The Aussies, shell-shocked at having to bowl at Boycott for twenty-two and a half hours, capitulated without much of a fight."
Boycott was also the first player to score 99 not out, and the first to score 99 and then a century in a Test match. The forty-eight century partnerships he was involved was a record for any England player, but has again been surpassed by Alastair Cook. In 1977 against Australia, Boycott became the first England player to bat on all five days of a Test match on his return to international cricket at Trent Bridge. He spent the 629 minutes at the crease for 191 runs in 1977.
Appointed vice-captain for the tour of Pakistan and New Zealand that winter, Boycott assumed the captaincy in 1978 for two Tests when Mike Brearley was injured, and brought with him his successful summer form. However, he was replaced upon Brearley's return. While the rest of the England team took part in warm-up matches, Boycott remained in Lahore and organised a special warm-up match in which the team would play itself. However, he went on to occupy the crease for a long period of time, limiting the amount of time other players had to practise. He later stated that, as the number-one batsman, he should have the most time in the middle. In the second Test match, he scored 79 and 100 not out, bringing his Test total since his return to the England team to 684 runs at 136.80. It was between this match and the third Test that Brearley broke his arm, giving Boycott the captaincy. Boycott led England to a draw in the third match, his leadership receiving mixed reviews.
Boycott, after much thought, continued as a player at Yorkshire, scoring 1,941 runs at 61.70 in 1979, hitting six hundreds to pass Len Hutton's record of 129 first-class centuries. In 1980 he scored his ninth Roses century, equalling Herbert Sutcliffe's record. He also finished the season with an average of over 50.00 for a record eleventh consecutive year, surpassing the achievement of Jack Hobbs. He would experience growing friction with Hutton's son, Yorkshire's Richard, as well as with later Yorkshire captain John Hampshire. In the early 1980s Boycott continued his run of form, although a slow 347-ball knock of 140* incensed captain, Ray Illingworth, and created friction between Boycott and the rest of the Yorkshire Committee. In 1982 Boycott and Graham Stevenson added a record 149 runs for Yorkshire's tenth wicket against Warwickshire, Stevenson scoring 115 of these runs.
Over Boycott's 18-year career he scored 8,114 runs in 108 Test matches for England. He was the first England cricketer to pass 8,000 Test runs and, as of 2015, is sixth on England's all-time run scoring list (behind Alastair Cook, Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, David Gower and Kevin Pietersen). His average of 47.72 runs over 193 innings is the highest completed career average by an England player since 1970. His Test career included 22 centuries, third in England's records, held jointly with Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, and Ian Bell and surpassed only by Pietersen (23) and Cook (33). England did not lose a Test match in which he scored a century and only 20 of his 108 Tests ended in defeat. John Arlott wrote in 1979 that "any expectation of an English win, except in freak bowling conditions, is based on a major innings from Boycott."
During the 1978–79 Ashes series, Boycott unusually went in as a Number 11 in the second innings of a match against state side South Australia (not due to injury). At Perth on 15 December, he scored 77 runs without hitting a boundary – the highest total of this nature – though it did include an all-run four. England went on to win the six-Test series 5–1, with Boycott struggling overall through three of the Tests with 263 runs at 21.91. Boycott then played in the 1979 Cricket World Cup held in England, taking two wickets in the opening match against Australia, which England won. The hosts then went on to win their next two games and topped their table for the opening round. Reaching the final after a close victory against New Zealand in which Boycott scored only two, he hit 57 from 105 balls as England chased Viv Richards 138 not out-inspired 286 to win, falling 92 runs short at 194 all out. Boycott ended the competition with the sixth highest strike rate of 42.99 and an average of 23.00.
Boycott was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1980 Queen's Birthday Honours "for services to Cricket." He then played in the 1981 Ashes series, despite being aged 40. During the second Test at Lord's Boycott was dismissed 40 short of a hundred by Dennis Lillee, and was "crushed" given that, as it was his hundredth Test match, he wished to score a century. Forever keen on the England captaincy, Boycott's hopes were cut short when Botham's 149 not out secured victory in Boycott's 101st Test match, and Mike Brearley's position as captain was made secure.
Boycott's playing style revolved around intense concentration, solid defence and attention to detail, while avoiding heavy hitting or slogging. He was described in The Complete Encyclopaedia of Cricket as "one of the greatest opening batsmen that the game has known. He dedicated his life to the art of batting, practising assiduously and eschewing any shot that might even hint at threatening the loss of his wicket." Through his Test career, he scored 15.4% of England's runs, and England won 32.41% of the Tests in which Boycott played. This compares with England's 34.76% victory rate over all Test cricket history. Richard Hutton, Yorkshire and England batsman and son of Len Hutton, described Boycott as a "one-pace player", suggesting that he was unable to alter his playing pace as the match circumstances dictated. Nevertheless, Boycott maintained an "impeccable" defensive technique, and possessed a temperament ideally suited for five-day Test matches. Arlott wrote that "his technique is based on a defence organised as near flawlessness as may be." Boycott himself remarked, in 1981, that: "Given the choice between Raquel Welch and a hundred at Lord's, I'd take the hundred every time." His careful batting is reflected in his 22 centuries for England, of which only two had a strike rate of over 51.00. Former England bowler Frank Tyson wrote in 1987, in The Test Within, that "the greatness of Boycott the batsman and the gaffes of Boycott the man had common roots in an unceasing quest after perfection." Boycott also kept a black book which he used to record bowlers' tendencies.
Boycott was again refused the captaincy for the next Test series against India over the winter of 1981–82. Angered by this decision, he stated that "even the Yorkshire Ripper got a fair trial in the dock but I've not been given a single chance." He later battled Keith Fletcher over his slow scoring rate, playing Fletcher's comments to him during a press conference using a tape recorder. The series against India was to be his last. In his final ODI match during England's tour he scored 6 from 12 deliveries. During the following Test series he passed Sobers' career run record, hitting 60 in the first Test, 36 and 50 in the second to take him 81 runs short, and in the third Test he overtook the record with a flick off his pads for four. He became the leading Test run-scorer. In his last Test match, the fourth of the tour, taking place in January 1982, he scored 18 and six. During the tour, Boycott claimed he was too ill to field in a Test Match, but it was later discovered that he was playing golf while his teammates were still out on the field.
This led to Boycott being dropped from the side and forced to return to England, despite apologising via a note to the England dressing room. He claimed in his autobiography, however, that he went to the golf course following medical advice to get fresh air. Later in 1982 he was instrumental in organising, in defiance of a United Nations and a TCCB ban, a rebel tour of apartheid South Africa by 13 current and former England Test cricketers, who were almost all nearing the end of their careers. All the players were banned from international cricket for three years as a result. By the mid-1980s, with Boycott in good county form and physical shape, there was speculation that he might return to the England side. David Gower, England captain of the time, stated, however, that "Geoffrey's been a marvellous servant for England but we have to look to the future and, in view of his age, it wouldn't make an awful lot of sense to pick him again." This was confirmed by the return of Graham Gooch and Tim Robinson's 175 against Australia at Leeds, which prompted Botham, who had once remarked that Boycott was "totally, almost insanely, selfish", to sing ’Bye-bye Boycott’ from the England balcony.
On 3 October 1983 the friction between Boycott and the committee culminated in a unanimous decision not to offer Boycott a contract for the next season. This generated much protest from Boycott supporters, who rallied, calling for his reinstatement at a meeting on 9 October in Ossett, Yorkshire. Bill Athey left the club at this time, and while Boycott in his biography maintained that he had no reason to believe that his actions had caused Athey's departure, Athey later stated to biographer Leo McKinstry that "Boycott's attitude and the atmosphere he created had everything to do with my decision to leave Yorkshire." The "Members 84 Group", consisting of strong supporters of Boycott, met regularly to clamour for the batsman's reinstatement. Their leader, Peter Briggs, stated "Geoffrey Boycott is a giant playing among pygmies."
On 21 January 1984 the Yorkshire Club committee, in the face of this rising pressure, agreed to offer Boycott a contract for 1984. Several members of the committee, including Trueman, Billy Sutcliffe and Ronnie Burnet, resigned. Of the replacement members, 17 were from the Members 84 Group, and Boycott himself was elected, leaving him with both a position on the team and on the Yorkshire Club committee. The 1984 season was, however, not the most prolific for Boycott. McKinstry records that he scored slowly in several matches: 60 in 52 overs against Somerset; 53 in 51 overs against Hampshire; 17 in 26 overs against Leicestershire; 77 in 67 overs against Sussex. This was coupled with continued friction between himself and both players and club members. In particular, Boycott's place on both the team and the committee led to feelings of distrust from both – though Boycott denies this – which led to the loss of support from long-term ally Sid Fielden.
His success on the field resumed in 1985, where he scored 1,657 runs at 75.31, second only to Viv Richards in the national averages. He also shared a record opening partnership of 351 with Martyn Moxon. In contrast to the poor relations between Boycott and the senior players, many junior members of the team remember 1985 and 1986 as pleasant times to be around Boycott, who often coached them on their technique. 1986 saw Boycott score 890 runs at 52.35, his season cut short by injuries which were becoming more frequent as he passed the age of 45. This season was the first since 1962 that he had not hit an overall total of 1,000 runs; he finished eight short in his final match, when he was run out for 61. He advised the then captain to enforce the follow-on, and did not bat again. Since 1984, support for Boycott had waned in light of his slow scoring, multiple injuries and the general atmosphere around him. Both Brian Close and Ray Illingworth increasingly advocated his removal to Yorkshire's committee, and on 23 September 1986 it was confirmed that he would not be offered a contract for the following year. A few months later, captain David Bairstow, a long term ally of Boycott whose leadership had Boycott's support, was ruled out of the running for captaincy for the following season, which was instead given to Phil Carrick, of whom Boycott disapproved. Boycott paid tribute to the Reform Group in 1987, describing them as "dedicated Yorkshire members with a heartfelt stake in their club." He suggests that Close and Illingworth feared his popularity. Boycott was offered contracts by other counties, including Derbyshire and Glamorgan, but he never took these offers up, nor played professional cricket again. At the time of his retirement he had scored more first-class runs than any other active player.
Boycott's slow scoring led to increasing media pressure, and owing to his perceived selfish attitude, he was dropped from the team after the match. He remembered in 1987 that "the decision stunned me at the time, though looking back now I see that it had become inevitable. I was mortified with embarrassment and filled with an angry, burning sense of injustice which I can remember clearly and painfully to this day." A combination of low confidence and a throat infection limited Boycott to two further Test appearances, playing once more against India and once against Pakistan, for the rest of the year. He nevertheless again topped the domestic averages with 1260 at 48.46. In 1967, Boycott toured the West Indies with England, where he hit a rich seam of form. He scored 463 runs at 66.14 in a series England won 1–0.
In 1987 the BBC aired a drama about the exile years called Our Geoff written by Andrew Nikold with Boycott being played by Patrick Malahide. The play featured a song called "Boycs Will Be Boycs" with the chorus "Boycs will be Boycs at the end of the day, There'll always be a Geoffrey where-ever Yorkshire play".
In the third match, in Bridgetown, Barbados, Boycott was to face what was later said to be Holding's greatest over. Boycott was hit on the gloves by the first delivery, played-and-missed the second outside off stump, was hit on the thigh by the third, fended the next two deliveries away with his bat, and was then bowled by the final delivery. Though in 1987 Boycott would claim a 1966 delivery by Gary Sobers to be the best he ever faced in cricket, he noted of Holding's over that "for the first time in my life I can look at a scoreboard with a duck against my name and not feel a profound sense of failure." Boycott led an England fightback in the fourth Test. Having watched Holding's over several times on video, and worked in the nets on his game, Boycott came out and made 38 in the first innings and then hit his twentieth Test century. His career run total was now 7,410, gaining on Gary Sobers' record of 8,032.
In 1996, Boycott was accused of assault by Margaret Moore, a former lover. Boycott denied the charges, claiming she had fallen over and injured herself. He pointed to the fact that Moore was in financial difficulties and said that he would never hit a woman. Moore was declared bankrupt shortly after making the allegations. Boycott was absent for the first trial in January at which his was convicted, after his lawyers had been wrongly informed that it was merely a preliminary hearing. In the second trial, beginning on 20 October 1998, Boycott appeared before a French magistrates' court and was given a three-month suspended sentence, and his £5,300 fine was confirmed. He was criticised by the magistrate for the way he conducted his case and for "rudely interrupting" Mrs Moore's barrister. In September 2019, the magistrate who convicted Boycott recalled that "he was arrogant and he had a deplorable attitude throughout the trial".
Boycott's commentating career continued, as he was able to carry on working overseas, particularly in India. He hosted The Sunny and Boycs Show with Sunil Gavaskar and he hosted the touring Indian team at his home in August 2002. He worked in South Africa and coached the Pakistan cricket team upon request. In 2001, as resentment towards him in the British media following the court case died down, he was reinstated as a writer for British newspapers, and there was speculation that he would coach Lancashire County Cricket Club following the departure of Bob Simpson, though Mike Watkinson eventually took the role.
Talksport, as well as both Indian and South African television programmes, continued to use Boycott as a commentator in 2002, during which he suffered a continual sore throat. Finding a lump while shaving, Boycott returned to England, and on 20 August 2002 was examined at Leeds General Infirmary. By 3 September 2002, he was informed that he had four cancerous tumours in his throat.
Boycott married Rachael Swinglehurst on 26 February 2003 at Wakefield Register Office, and they have a daughter Emma (born October 1988).
Initially, surgeons recommended an eight-hour procedure to remove the tumours; their size and proximity to his voice box eventually persuaded them to recommend radiotherapy, of which Boycott had 35 sessions from 22 October. By December, scans revealed that the majority of the tumours had disappeared, and the final tumour's disappearance was confirmed in early 2003. Although initially reluctant to discuss his health with the public, he spoke privately with his daughter, Emma, and then released a statement publicly, which evoked a significant emotional response. On 16 August 2003, he was given his own 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.
Following this public support, Boycott resumed writing for The Daily Telegraph and commentating on Channel Four for the Cheltenham and Gloucester Championship Final and the following summer's cricket. Radio Five Live then hired Boycott in early 2004. His fellow commentators state that his illness has altered his voice and led to a more pleasant personality, but that he is still prone to unpleasant behaviour. Channel Four producer Gary Francis stated "I think Geoff is a lot more mellow now. He still has his moments, like when the taxi does not arrive and he is not happy, as he makes extremely clear. But overall he's great fun to work with."
In September 2004, Boycott wrote for The Daily Telegraph a posthumous tribute to lifelong friend Brian Clough.
In 2004, it was reported in The Yorkshire Post that Boycott was supporting the United Kingdom Independence Party in that year's election for the European Parliament.
Boycott continued to commentate for the station, along with various satellite and Asian channels, until 2003, when his career was further threatened by throat cancer (see below). Having successfully undergone treatment, Boycott enjoyed a renaissance in his career 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.
His on-air commentary has caused controversy. As a commentator, Boycott has renewed his 'pull-no-punches' style in contrast to most of his fellow commentators. In particular he is known for criticising players, often in a caustic and strident style. In 2005 he mocked the Australian captain Ricky Ponting for electing to bowl first on a batsman-friendly pitch, saying he was a "nice man" for being so generous to the England team. In 2006, he was initially receptive to the difficulties endured by Marcus Trescothick during his periods of stress-related illness; however, he was not always as amiable.
Boycott has been credited as having a high level of influence in the game, with Yorkshire's Chief Executive Stewart Regan crediting Boycott over the completion of a deal for Younis Khan to play county cricket for Yorkshire in the 2007 season. On a larger scale, Boycott 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.
In early 2008, there was speculation that Boycott would be given a role on the England coaching staff, pertaining in particular to the coaching of Andrew Flintoff back from injury. On 8 May 2008, however, the ECB revealed that Boycott would not hold such a position. The two had been involved in the past, and while Flintoff is an admirer of Boycott, the ECB stressed any coaching relationship would only be informal. Boycott, however, used to give informal talks to younger cricket players during his career, and the media speculated that he might find a place coaching the England U19s. Boycott continued in his commentating career for TMS, criticising the England team's approach to the ODI matches under Pietersen in India in November 2008. Also in November, Daily Mail contributor Leo McKinstry published a new biography of Boycott.
On 2 January 2009, Boycott, along with 54 others, was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. On 9 August 2009, while commentating on the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley that season, he was invited to take part in an on-field ceremony to induct him into the Hall of Fame along with Ian Botham and the Yorkshire greats Wilfred Rhodes and Fred Trueman. Botham was also in attendance, along with Trueman's widow, Veronica, and Colin Graves who, as Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman, accepted the honour on behalf of Rhodes. Boycott said: "I would like to thank the ICC for awarding me this great honour and for also choosing Headingley as the venue. This ground holds so many wonderful memories for me and the Yorkshire public have always been my greatest supporters, so having this award on home soil in front of them makes it more special". Colin Graves included Boycott in his tribute to Rhodes when he said: "It is a great honour to accept the cap on behalf of a Yorkshire legend. Wilfred Rhodes was an exceedingly gifted player and is rightly regarded as one of England's greatest all-rounders. I am also delighted to see two other great Yorkshiremen and another great all-rounder inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame today".
Boycott continued to be an active member of the cricket community, voicing his support in late April 2009 for Pakistan player Saeed Ajmal, and calling for the legalisation of the doosra spin-bowling delivery. He levelled criticism in July 2009 against Kevin Pietersen for his captaincy difficulties and in September against Andrew Flintoff for his apparent favour of club cricket over internationals.
On 29 November 2009, he was commentating an ODI between England and South Africa when he was heard swearing on air following a catch taken by Paul Collingwood that dismissed Ryan McLaren. The BBC released a statement on 30 November which read: "An off-air comment made by Geoffrey Boycott in a live broadcast was heard by some listeners which we apologised for as soon as we realised it had been audible."
In March 2012, Boycott was elected President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Elected at an annual meeting, he gained 91.09% of the vote. The election came on the back of Yorkshire's relegation from the first to the second division of the County Championship, the reversal of which Boycott targeted immediately upon taking up the post. He remarked to the media that "The only thing that really matters to the membership is that Yorkshire do well in Championship cricket." His tenure also presided over the club's 150th anniversary in 2013. In February 2014, it was revealed that former Test umpire and Yorkshire player Dickie Bird would replace Boycott.
In March 2013, Boycott and his partner Rachael Swinglehurst purchased the Grade II listed Boston Hall in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, citing a desire to be closer to family, friends, and Yorkshire County Cricket Club. They later married, and have a daughter. Later in 2014 he released a book entitled Geoffrey Boycott: The Corridor of Certainty with Simon & Schuster. ESPNcricinfo reviewed the piece in October, commenting on Boycott's more amiable personality since his recovery from cancer: "we have a much more rounded and nuanced book, full of self-awareness and a willingness, even eagerness, to acknowledge errors, failings and regrets... This a complex, driven man, whom we all recognise and admire for his achievements, revealing aspects of his life and survival that have hitherto been kept close to his chest."
According to Boycott, Moore had grown angry when he refused to marry her, stating that "he was not the marrying kind" and had fallen when throwing his clothing from the window, hitting her head on the carpet. When he again appealed against his conviction, Moore's version of events that Boycott had attacked her by punching her in the face, causing bruising, was upheld, in the light of photographs of her injuries shown to the court and the testimony of a doctor that the injuries could not have been caused in the way described by Boycott. In 2015 an investigation by the Daily Telegraph alleged that Moore had admitted to a friend she had slipped on a marble floor and hit her head, causing the injury she later claimed was caused by Boycott. The newspaper also discovered that Boycott's solicitor had been contacted by a represented of Moore, suggesting that the allegation would be dropped if he paid her £150,000. Boycott refused to pay the sum demanded, stating he "considered it to be blackmail”. A separate incident documented in court papers also revealled Moore's barrister had demanded £1million from Boycott in return for her silence. Moore's lack of honesty has also been documented in other court cases relating to her business, when Mr Registrar James made a bankruptcy order against her he noted her "a deliberate lack of truthfulness” in her evidence.
On 19 August 2017, during an interval question and answer session on day 3 of the England v West Indies Test at Edgbaston, Boycott stated he was more likely to get a knighthood if he "blacked his face". He later stated that his comment had been "clearly wrong" and stated he had "utmost respect" for West Indian cricket players. Having long been nicknamed "Sir Geoffrey", Boycott was formally given that title when appointed a Knight Bachelor in Theresa May's resignation honours on 10 September 2019. In response to criticism from anti-domestic abuse campaigners about his knighthood, Boycott said that he "does not give a toss".
In June 2020 Boycott announced his retirement from Test Match Special citing the COVID-19 pandemic and his heart surgery as the reasons.
Currently, Geoffrey Boycott is 81 years, 6 months and 29 days old. Geoffrey Boycott will celebrate 82nd birthday on a Friday 21st of October 2022.
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