Geoffrey Boycott

As a cricketer, Geoffrey Boycott was famous for his stultifying style of batting which would often see him occupy the crease for days at a time, often to the distress of his team, but never to the detriment of his averages. A controversial figure, Boycott often clashed with figures in cricketing authority, and was even known to get his own teammates run out on purpose.

These days, Geoff Boycott is something of a national treasure as a straight-talking, outspoken commentator in a game that is (in England at least) all too often weighed down with a painfully upper-middle class, and exclusive, vernacular, and an annoying habit of sitting on the fence.

Born (1940) and bred Yorkshire, Boycott began playing for the county in 1962, in a career that would see him score 32,570 runs. However, controversy was never far behind, and Boycott often clashed with the big personalities at the club, most notably Fred Truman and Ray Illingworth.

But while Yorkshire fans remember the county player, it is for his 18 years and 108 test match appearances that made Boycott a British institution.

Beginning test cricket in 1965, Boycott was the first English player to score over 8,000 test runs, and remains the fourth highest scoring Englishman. Among those 8,000 plus were 22 centuries, none of which were scored in losing games.

A four year test hiatus ended in 1977 at Trent Bridge against Australia - Boycott spent an incredible twenty-two-and-a-half hours at the wicket garnering only 187 runs in total, but providing the backbone for a winning side to play off.

It was around this time that Boycott was having the biggest clash of personalities he was ever to experience in cricket, with the big-hitting legend Ian Botham coming down hard on the introverted Boycott in the dressing room and beyond.

Such is the disdain these two men harbour for each other, that they each devoted a chapter about the other in their autobiographies.

Boycott retired from test cricket in 1981 and from the domestic game in 1986. He has since gone on to become one of the nation's favourite commentators, although he still manages to court controversy.

In 1996 Boycott was found guilty by a French court of assault on his then girlfriend, Magaret Moore. Given a three month suspended sentence, and a £5,300 fine, he was also sacked from his commentating jobs with BSkyB and the BBC, and lost his post as a columnist with The Sun ‘newspaper'.

However, illness and recovery from throat cancer saw Boycott brought in from the broadcasting cold, and his outbursts at all facets of the game are once again gracing the UK's airwaves. In 2009 he was inducted to the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame.

Geoff Boycott makes it to the list of Great Britons for services to his country with a bat, and an uncompromising style of play and commentary that added some colour to the white and green of a slow, and often stuffy game.