Accolade for Major's boyhood cricket hero

New Year Honours: Sport
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The Independent Online
Steven Redgrave and Damon Hill are the predictable sporting recipients of New Year honours, but the greatest accolade goes to a cricketer whose playing career ended more than 36 years ago.

Alec Bedser, now 78, receives a knighthood for his services to the game as a player and administrator. A medium-fast bowler who took 236 wickets for England in 51 post-war Test matches, Bedser went on to manage three England tours and was chairman of selectors for a record 13 years until 1981.

As a player with Surrey and England, Bedser was one of the Prime Minister's boyhood heroes. His identical twin brother, Eric, was an all-rounder who played at county level, while Alec, who was appointed OBE in 1964 and CBE in 1982, is considered one of England's all-time finest bowlers. He dismissed the great Don Bradman in five successive Test innings and was the only bowler who dismissed him twice for no score.

Another cricket administrator, Ossie Wheatley, a former chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board's cricket committee, is appointed CBE. Wheatley is chairman of the Sports Council for Wales. A football administrator is also honoured, Glen Kirton is appointed OBE for his work as tournament director of Euro 96.

Redgrave is appointed CBE following his performance this summer in Atlanta, where he became Britain's greatest Olympian by winning his fourth successive rowing gold medal.

Hill, who this year became the first son to emulate his father's achievement in winning the Formula One world drivers' championship, is honoured with the OBE. Two footballers are appointed MBE: the Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, and Paul McStay, Celtic's captain and the winner of 73 caps for Scotland. Martin Offiah, rugby league's leading try scorer for a record six seasons and the scorer of 26 tries in 33 Tests for Great Britain, is appointed MBE.

PAUL NEWMAN

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