ESSEX star Alastair Cook, England’s all-time leading run scorer and most capped player, said he did not have the words to describe how special a day it had been as he collected his knighthood.

Cook is the first England cricketer to be knighted since all-rounder Ian Botham in 2007 and joins an exclusive club of former England cricketers to hold the title, including Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton and Colin Cowdrey.

But Cook insists he is still struggling to get used to his new title.

“Seeing my name up there in whatever capacity, you just don’t get used to it,” said Cook.

“You never get used to it and I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing my name with a Sir before it.”

Cook retired from international cricket in the summer and ended his career with 12,472 Test runs and 33 Test centuries - both England records.

He also led England for a record 59 Tests, resigning after a four-and-a-half-year tenure in February 2017.

His sheer weight of runs in series victories in Australia in 2010-11 and India in 2012 are also strong in the memory of cricket lovers.

But Cook was nervous before receiving his knighthood from the Queen.

“It is just weird, when you are told you have to just walk and kneel, that you should get so nervous,” said Cook.

“I have played cricket in front of many thousands and done OK but you get just as nervous just walking and kneeling, which is very strange.

“But it has been such a special day. I can’t put into words what it means, because I am not very good at that, but just for my family it has been a very special occasion.

“I am very lucky to have this at the end of my international career.”