LONDON (Agencies) - England cricket captain Andrew Strauss described his team's Ashes victory in Australia as the 'holy grail' after being awarded an OBE on Tuesday.
Strauss received the honour for leading the nation's top cricketers to an emphatic win last winter in the famous series against Australia.
England thrashed their opponents 3-1 - their first victory in Australia for 24 years.
The sportsman was presented with an OBE by the Princess Royal at a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony and said after the event: 'It was certainly one of the proudest moments of my career because for us winning the Ashes away from home is a bit like the holy grail.
'It's not something that many English sides have done previously, so it makes it more satisfying when you are able to achieve that.
'Since beating the Australians, England have gone on to reach greater sporting heights with Strauss at the helm.
A succession of Test victories saw them become the No 1 Test side after they beat India during the summer to claim the top spot from the Asian side.
Asked about the secret of England's success, Strauss replied: 'The bottom line for me is the players on the pitch have to deliver under pressure and we've done that consistently over a number of months and years now.
'The players have been fantastic and it's a great credit to all those guys who are standing up and delivering time and time again.
South African-born Strauss, who has an English mother, made his first-class debut for Middlesex in 1998 but had to wait six years before being chosen for an England Test side.
In 2004 he was picked as a replacement for injured captain Michael Vaughan and made the most of the opportunity, scoring 112 in the first innings and then 83 in the second.
The left-hander hit a succession of big tallies that quickly established him as an international batsman.
Strauss ended 2004 with almost 1,000 Test runs for England from just nine matches and the following year was part of the victorious national side that reclaimed the Ashes from Australia.
The batsman first captained an England Test side in 2006 but had to wait three years to be given the job permanently when Kevin Pietersen resigned from the post.
Looking ahead to the Test series against Pakistan in January as cricket's number one Test side, he said: 'We don't prepare any differently but obviously we're the hunted rather than the hunters.
'There's a different mindset and we have to make sure we approach it in the same way we always have.
' Andy Flower, England's cricket coach, also received an OBE for his work off the field guiding the players during their Ashes victory.
The former batsman and wicketkeeper has had a very successful tenure since being given the top job two years ago.
He said: 'I think we've had a good partnership Andrew Strauss and I, so it's nice to be with him here today.
He's been a superb leader for the England cricket team and a great role model.
'I think he especially has been a role model in embracing responsibility for results and the way the players train, and that is one of the better things that has happened to the squad.
'I think that some of the hard work that's been put in by the coaches, the administrators and the players has helped things come together.
To become No 1 in the world in Test cricket is an outstanding achievement.
' Triple jumper Phillips Idowu was awarded an MBE for services to athletics during the ceremony, but was without his trademark dyed hair.
He usually sports a red crop but said he had not coloured it all season except for a promotional event.
Idowu has been a leading athlete for a decade, winning golds at the Commonwealth Games, European Championships and World Indoor Championships.
But the athlete lost his outdoor World Championships crown last month in a hard-fought competition, beaten into silver medal place by American Christian Taylor.
But he remained positive, saying his training has been geared towards London 2012 rather than retaining his title.
He said: 'Losing the title does take a lot of pressure off me going into the Olympic Games and I can just get my head down and focus on the Olympics.
'At the beginning of this season I always said my main goal was the Olympic Games so my training schedule is based on that and the World Championships is just a stepping stone towards that.