Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook lead Birthday Honours list

Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook
England had not won an Ashes series in Australia for 24 years until this year

Cricketers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook are among the sports stars named in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

England captain Strauss is made OBE, along with team coach Andy Flower and golfer Lee Westwood.

Cook, player of the series in last winter's Ashes win, athletes Phillips Idowu and Jessica Ennis and cyclist Mark Cavendish all become MBEs.

Four-time Derby-winning trainer Henry Cecil receives a knighthood for his services to horse racing.

There is also an honour for ex-basketball star John Amaechi, who grew up in Stockport before moving to the US and becoming one of the game's biggest names. He is made OBE.

The 40-year-old became the first openly gay NBA player after coming out in 2007.

Among the administrators honoured are former Olympics Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins, who receives a knighthood, and David Sparkes, the chief executive of British swimming, who becomes an OBE after overseeing a transformation in the sport.

Strauss, Flower and Cook are recognised for their achievement in winning the Ashes in Australia for the first time in 24 years.

The 3-1 series victory laid to rest memories of the humiliating 5-0 whitewash in their 2006/07 tour down under.

Gloucester-born Cook scored 766 runs, the second highest total by an England batsman in any Ashes series, and during the fifth Test in Sydney became the second youngest player to reach a career total of 5,000 runs.

Strauss, who is already an MBE after helping England to beat Australia for the first time in a generation in 2005, spoke of his pride, personally, and on behalf of his two colleagues and the rest of his team-mates and coaching staff.

"It is a great honour to receive this accolade," he said. "It's one of the better items of post you get through the letterbox - certainly better than a gas bill."

"I'm very proud to receive it and, more than anything, very proud of how the team performed out there in Australia.

"Our guys really stood up under the pressure.

"It is wonderful to receive OBEs and MBEs. We have achieved something but are nowhere near the end of the road yet, and will continue to strive to improve."

Cecil began his career in 1969 and has enjoyed much success, including 25 Classic wins, with the latest coming in this year's 2,000 Guineas courtesy of the impressive Frankel.

Henry Cecil
Cecil receives a knighthood after an illustrious training career

The 10-time champion trainer, now 68, won his first 2,000 Guineas back in 1975. As well as his four Derby wins, he has won the equivalent for fillies, the Oaks, on eight occasions and has had a record 72 Royal Ascot winners.

But he has also had a series of low points, including battling stomach cancer and a loss of form, but he remains hugely popular within the horse racing community.

Passage Of Time's Criterium de Saint-Cloud victory in 2006 saw the Group One flag flying above his Warren Place yard again and was the first indication that Cecil's star would once more soon be in the ascendancy.

His ailing health did not stop him sending out Light Shift for an emotional victory in the Oaks in June 2007 and the likes of dual Champion Stakes winner Twice Over and five-time Group One winner Midday have been among the flagbearers for his yard in recent seasons.

Westwood, 38, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, had a 2010 to remember after helping Europe to Ryder Cup success at Celtic Manor and becoming world number one.

Ennis, who won heptathlon gold at last year's European Championships in Barcelona to add to the world title she claimed in Berlin in 2009, has told of her pride at the honour that she and fellow 2012 hopeful Idowu have received.

"It is hard to put into words what it feels like to get such an honour in recognition of my sporting achievements," said the Sheffield-born 25-year-old.

"I love my sport and can't think of anything I would want to do more, and to be recognised for the years of hard work and the success I have had over the past two years means so much.

"I would also like to congratulate Phillips on getting an MBE - this is so good for the sport of athletics and I hope it will inspire all of the young athletes out there."

Cavendish, who has 15 Tour de France stage wins to his name and hopes to add Olympic glory in the 2012 road race, spoke of how much the honour means to him and the sport of cycling.

"It is a massive honour for me to be recognised like this - it is not often that a cyclist is honoured without winning an Olympic medal," said the 26-year-old from he Isle of Man.

"It is a great list of names that have been honoured and for me to be alongside them is massive for me.

"Cycling is growing and I am more known now, but I don't do this for any celebrity status, I do it for the love of the sport.

"To know that cycling is getting recognised makes me massively proud."

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