Former England captain David Gower has dismissed calls for Sir Geoffrey Boycott’s knighthood to be withdrawn.
Labour and domestic abuse charities have said the 78-year-old’s honour should be rescinded because of his domestic violence conviction.
Boycott, who played 108 Test matches for England before forging a successful career as a broadcaster, was given a three-month suspended prison sentence by a French court in 1998 following a conviction for assault against his former girlfriend Margaret Moore.
He has always maintained his innocence.
“I saw a clip of Geoffrey on the television and he was obviously quite hurt,” Gower told the PA news agency.
“A day that should have been very special for him was marred by people raking stuff up from 25 years ago.
“I am not denying there is a very serious issue behind all this, but he said he definitely didn’t do it. I have spoken to him about the matter and I believe him when he said there was no way he would have done what he was accused of.
“It is an unfortunate cloud that he will have to defend as well as he defended any new ball in his career.”
Asked if the knighthood should be rescinded, Gower, who played 31 Tests alongside Boycott for England, replied: “Oh God, no.”
Gower is set to begin his final days working for Sky Sports when the concluding Ashes Test gets under way at the Oval on Thursday.
The 62-year-old’s contract has not been renewed by the broadcaster.
“I don’t want to leave and that is the honest truth,” added Gower. “I will feel sad because it has been part of my life for 20 years.
“I was told by the Sky hierarchy that there is an evolution in how television works. One understands that things change, but one doesn’t have to necessarily agree with the decision.
“It is just hard to accept. That is perfectly natural. I would rather be carrying on than hanging up the mic.”
Only Alastair Cook, Graham Gooch and Alec Stewart scored more runs than the 8,231 Gower managed during his 14-year international career.
Gower captained England during the historic 1985 Ashes triumph, but he also skippered the side in two 5-0 whitewashes against the West Indies, and was replaced as captain in 1986.
Joe Root’s leadership is under the spotlight after England’s failure to regain the Ashes, but Gower has urged England’s selectors to stick with the 28-year-old.
“I wouldn’t be changing it at this time,” he said. “They have invested in Joe. He might not be England’s finest captain but that takes time to earn.
“Six months ago, everybody was saying Joe has got the hang of this after England beat Sri Lanka. Then England lose to the West Indies and don’t regain the Ashes.
“But it shouldn’t be determined on the absolute result as to how good you are as a captain. It depends who you play against and how your players play for you.”
:: David Gower is touring the UK theatres this autumn with On the Front Foot. For more information, visit david-gower.com.