Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Ben Stokes nominated for New Zealander of the Year award

England Prime Ministerial candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have already hinted that Stokes could be awarded a knighthood

By Our Bureau & Agencies in Wellington and Calcutta
  • Published 20.07.19, 3:36 AM
  • Updated 20.07.19, 3:36 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Ben Stokes at the presentation after winning the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won after a super over after the scores ended tied after 50 overs each. (AP)

After ripping the heart out of New Zealand’s bleary-eyed cricket fans on Sunday with a Man-of-the-Match performance in the World Cup final at Lord’s, England all-rounder Ben Stokes has now been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award.

The 28-year-old Stokes was born in New Zealand but grew up in England when his father Gerard moved there to take a rugby league-coaching job.

Stokes remained in England when his parents returned home and carved out a successful cricketing career, scoring 84 not out in the final. He also scored eight in the Super Over which also ended in a tie as England were adjudged World Cup winners on boundary count.

His exploits in the final earned some early nominations for the awards, as did New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.

New Zealander of the Year Awards chief judge Cameron Bennett said some were still trying to claim Stokes as one of New Zealand’s own, since he was born in Christchurch.

“Stokes might not have been playing for the Black Caps, but having been born in Christchurch where his parents now live, and with Maori ancestry, there’s clearly a few New Zealanders who think we can still claim him,” Bennett was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.

About Williamson, Bennett said: “The way he conducted himself, not only in the face of such devastating disappointment at Lord’s but throughout the tournament, resonated powerfully with New Zealanders from all walks of life.

“He has been the embodiment of the qualities we cherish as New Zealanders — courage, fairness, humility.”

Nominations for the award opened on July 1 and will close on September 15. A shortlist is confirmed in December with the winner to be named next year in February.

The award is typically given to prominent members of the community with comedian Mike King, who has become a mental health and suicide prevention advocate, the most recent to receive the award.

All New Zealand citizens over the age of 15 are eligible to be nominated. Others to have been nominated include former rugby league player and Dancing with the Stars winner Manu Vatuvei, Christchurch shootings hero Abdul Aziz and Hepatitis C treatment pioneer Professor Ed Gane.

The last sportsman to win it was former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in 2016 after he led the side to their second successive Rugby World Cup title in late 2015.

England Prime Ministerial candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have already hinted that Stokes could be awarded a knighthood following his stupendous performance in the recently concluded World Cup.

Despite being England’s star of the World Cup final, Stokes said he dreaded bowling the Super Over. “I definitely wasn’t going to bowl it again,” he said the other day.

Stokes, who threw himself to the ground as wicketkeeper Jos Buttler completed the run-out dismissal of Martin Guptill that sealed England’s win, said he “broke down” at the moment of victory.