Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Geoffrey Boycott (born October 21 1940) is a former England cricketer. In a Test match career dating from 1964 to 1982, Boycott established himself as amongst England's finest ever opening batsmen. Yorkshireman Boycott followed up his playing career by becoming a commentator.
Boycott was born in Fitzwilliam in Yorkshire and began playing county cricket for his home county in 1962. He began an illustrious Test career only two years later in the first Test of the summer against Australia. He went on to score 8,114 runs in an 18 year Test career spanning 108 Test matches. He was the first England cricketer to past 8,000 Test runs and is still fourth on England's all-time running scoring list (behind Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart and David Gower). His average of 47.73 runs over 193 innings is a unique achievement amongst England players playing since 1970. His Test career included 22 centuries (an England record that he holds jointly with Wally Hammond and Colin Cowdrey). In 1977, Boycott became the first ever cricketer to score his hundredth first class century in a Test match when he scored 191 against Australia in the fourth Test at Headingley, his home ground.
Boycott was always a controversial figure and spent some time in an apparently self-imposed exile after getting on badly with his fellow players. His batting style in many ways reflected his personality, dour and dogged, and he was renowned for his ability to stick around for hours, boring spectators with his defensive style of play. He famously deliberately ran out Derek Randall in front of Randall's home crowd in order to save himself before going to make a century (this was in Boycott's "comeback" Test at Trent Bridge, where he went on to score 107, and incidentally it was the match in which Ian Botham made his England debut). Legend has it that during one of his three matches as England's captain due to Mike Brearley's injury the rest of the team in pavilion determined that Boycott was scoring so slowly that he was in danger costing England the match. Ian Botham went on to run out Boycott, apparently deliberately.
Boycott's ability to occupy the crease come what may is reflected by the fact that he was the first of only two England players (and the second player ever) to bat in all five days of a Test match. In his first match back from his exile, he batted on each of the first three days in the first innings against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1977, scoring 107. He then scored 80 not out in the second innings which spanned days four and five. This feat was emulated by Allan Lamb against West Indies at Lord's in 1984.
As a commentator Boycott 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 more middle class fellow commentators. In particular he is known for criticizing players, his strong Yorkshire accent, and his pre-match pitch reports, where he would stick a key into the wicket and assess its qualities (moisture and hardness).
In 1996, Boycott was accused by Margaret Moore, a former lover, of assault. Boycott denied the charges, claiming she had fallen over and hit herself. He pointed to the fact that Moore was in financial difficulties and said that he would never hit a woman. However, in January 1998, Boycott was convicted before a French Magistrates court. According to Boycott, Moore had grown angry when he refused to marry her, stating that 'he was not the marrying kind'.
The conviction gravely jeopardized Boycott's commentating career. At the time of the conviction he was working for BSkyB and BBC Radio, commentating on England's tour of the West Indies. He was sacked from both roles. He was also sacked from his columnists job in The Sun. A BBC television spokesman said "Geoffrey Boycott is not under contract with the BBC [television] and there are no plans to use him in the future."
Boycott was offered a role by talkSPORT, who chose to back him in spite of his conviction (subsequently held up on appeal). He continued to commentate for the station, 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 appeared to be enjoying a renaissance as he returned to high-profile commentating with Channel 4, who had, in the interim period, taken over from the BBC in televising England's home Test games.
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