At last, three real British heroes!

Andy Murray is rightly called as the greatest of all British tennis players.-REUTERS

There are three fine British sportsmen — Englishman Hamilton, Scotsman Murray and the Irishman McIlroy — and in my judgement it will be a long time before they let the great British public feel the misery of unexpected defeat again. Perhaps a knighthood awaits the trio. By Ted Corbett.

I wish to apologise, on behalf of myself and my fellow cricket writers, for the most ghastly series of errors ahead of the first Ashes Test in Cardiff.

We simply got it wrong. I said England could not regain the trophy without Kevin Pietersen, all the rest simply leapt to the conclusion that England would lose the first Test by a huge margin and the whole series by a distance.

Invincible Australia were simply too good.

Instead, from the moment England were put in to bat to the final catch on the fourth day, it was Alastair Cook and his men who dominated proceedings. Cook seems to have learnt the meaning of cricket, and what brings about the best results.

I admit I have been his most fervent critic. “You don’t understand your own game,” I used to bellow at the telly. Well, all that has changed. From somewhere — maybe from the new England coach Trevor Bayliss, the renegade Aussie or maybe from his long rest while missing the World Cup — Cook has suddenly got the clue. More strength to you Cookie; I am on your side from this moment.

All the rest followed suit. They have hardly had the time to fall under the influence of Bayliss but they played like men inspired.

Now a word of caution! Four matches to go and we don’t want any more mistakes by English writers about English players. Still time for an Australian revival.

Happily for my country, there is no longer much need to forecast defeat for we have, besides the newly found aces in the cricket pack, a bunch of super heroes who make the life of the preview writer so much easier and give a new meaning to life for the spectators whether they are viewing by way of TV or going to the match.

First in line is, of course, Lewis Hamilton, Grand Prix title holder and leader of the Grand Prix pack once again. When he first sprang to the front of the grid, even after he won his first world championship, I detected a reluctance to cheer him on among the regular race reporters but now there is no doubt that he is a popular winner.

He leads the title race by such a wide margin that I guess there are one or two reporters wondering “this is boring . . . what on earth can I write next.”

I’ll tell them. Even though he was stopped entering the Royal Box at Wimbledon because his clothes were not conventional enough, Hamilton must be in line for a knighthood. He ought to be getting a letter with the Queen’s signature in plenty of time for the New Year’s Honours once he has won a second successive world championship.

My guess is that the minor gaffe over the clothes he chose for Wimbledon — no tie and a touch garish for the grand occasion — will be forgiven as he brings glory to the whole nation. I hope so, not least because he will give sportsmen of his background the right to square their shoulders and feel as if they have just won the latest Lottery prize.

Lewis Hamilton is a superb sportsman who has already won races this year from in front, after difficult starts and when everything seemed to be against him.-AP

He is a superb sportsman who has already won races this year from in front, after difficult starts and when everything seemed to be against him.

Much the same can be said of Andy Murray now rightly hailed as the greatest of all British tennis players. None of the other modern English tennis stars have come near to winning Wimbledon and yet every year there is always a moment when Murray seems sure to win. He has the right genes and every reason to believe that children from his recent marriage will be just as talented and, if his wife’s outburst this year is any indication, even more aggressive. His mother, a tennis coach, watched over her son with the keen eye of a hunting hawk but that job has now been handed down to his wife and, although he did not win Wimbledon, that particular form of coaching seems to be working.

Murray must also be in line for a knighthood at the end of this year and, to be fair to him, he has done nothing to bring his game into disrepute.

There is a third sword tap on the shoulder waiting for Rory McIlroy who is already hot on the trail of Tiger Woods, first as the greatest golfer of his generation and secondly as the finest accumulator of prizes.

His cool mind under pressure is a great part of his game and it was never better shown than a fortnight before the British Open when he was injured in a casual kick-about at football with a few friends. Many sportsmen would have collapsed in tears and cursed their bad luck. Not McIlroy. He simply decided he would not even try to play in the Open but he would chill out while it was being played and until his ankle grew strong again.

These three are fine British sportsmen — Englishman Hamilton, Scotsman Murray and the Irishman McIlroy — and in my judgement it will be a long time before they let the great British public feel the misery of unexpected defeat again.

But, hey what do I know? I thought Australia were going to win the first Test and yet they lost by the width of the Pacific Ocean. Sorry once again. I have learnt my lesson. You will not hear me say that word again any time soon.

I hope.