England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke, former international umpire Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird, ECB disability cricketer of the year Umesh Valjee and disability cricket pioneer Jeffrey Levick have all been honoured in the New Year’s Honours List.
Clarke, who has been ECB chairman since 2007, received a CBE for services to cricket while Bird was awarded an OBE for services to cricket and charity. Bird was a first-class umpire for 28 years and officiated in 68 Test matches and three World Cup finals. He has previously been awarded an MBE.
Valjee, who captained England’s deaf cricketers to victory in the T20 tri-series in Australia earlier this year, scoring three centuries, received an MBE together with Levick, chairman of Hampshire Cricket Board.
Clarke said, “This has been a marvellous year for cricket at all levels with the England team becoming the world’s number one ranked Test side, a memorable finish to our county season and a five percent growth in participation at grass-roots level in our national network of ECB Focus Clubs.
“The entire game will be pleased to see that the excellent work which is being done to promote disability cricket has been acknowledged and, of course, that one of our most popular and best-loved umpires has received further national recognition.
“These awards are a tremendous accolade for cricket in this country and will provide a real boost for all those who work tirelessly to promote our national summer sport.”
Speaking about the award, Bird said, “It is a tremendous honour and I feel very humble. I am delighted and honoured.
“People always ask me what stands out, what do I remember best? I have always said that standing in three World Cup finals were my best memories but to get this is the greatest honour of my life.
“I have been given the Freedom of Barnsley, honorary doctorates at Leeds, Sheffield Hallam and Huddersfield universities and I have been voted Yorkshireman of the Year. They are all great honours but this OBE stands out above them all. It is the pinnacle.”