By Thomas Burrows and Joseph Curtis

England cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott has apologised 'unreservedly' for telling an audience he would have a better chance of getting a knighthood if he 'blacked up'.

The former player turned controversial commentator was speaking to a racially diverse audience during last week's test match against the West Indies at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Boycott, 76, was taking part in a Q&A when he told host Gary Newbon, of Sky Sports, how he had been unsuccessful in obtaining a knighthood so far but they were given out 'like confetti' to West Indian cricketers.

Advertisement

He said: "Mine's been turned down twice. I'd better black me face."

The audience reportedly reacted with 'uneasy silence' after paying £300 each for the luxury hospitality tickets.

A source told the Mirror it was a "crass comment that went down like a lead balloon", branding Boycott a "dinosaur".

The source said: "Is Boycott suggesting these great West Indians got knighthoods merely because of the colour of their skin? Birmingham is celebrated for its ethnic diversity and racial tolerance.

"We can do without dinosaurs like him spouting rubbish."

Responding on Twitter today, Boycott accepted his comments were 'unacceptable' and "clearly wrong".

Boycott wrote: "Speaking at an informal gathering I was asked a question and I realise my answer was unacceptable.

"I meant no offence but what I said was clearly wrong and I apologise unreservedly.

"I have loved West Indian cricket my whole life and have the utmost respect for its players."