Ben Stokes turns down ‘New Zealander of the Year’ award nomination, feels Kane Williamson a worthy recipient
A heart-winning gesture that from Stokesy!
Updated - Nov 26, 2019 7:50 pm
He may have been born in New Zealand but yet England’s Ben Stokes hadn’t sparked a pleasing emotion at Lord’s on July 14 when a throw from Martin Guptill had hit his bat and went for four overthrow runs. Those vital runs brought England back into the race for winning the Cricket World Cup for the first time and they eventually did it by the virtue of hitting more boundaries. And now, despite all odds, the ace all-rounder has been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award!
The 28-year-old Stokes, who made 84 not-out in the match and then contributed with some vital runs in the super over, was born in Christchurch but moved to England when he was 12. His parents later moved back to New Zealand and the cricketer went on to play for his country.
It was his maiden World Cup and he scored 473 runs at an average of 66 plus. He played some crucial 80-plus knocks and irrespective of his team’s win or loss, the cricketer showed its worth as one of the best all-rounders to have represented England.
The Kiwis have claimed Stokes as one of their own despite him snatching the game away from them and bagging the man of the match award in the title clash, something that greats like Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and others have achieved.
New Zealand nominates “inspirational Kiwis” who have made a “significant contribution” to the country and made them proud of their nation. Speaking about Stokes’ nomination, chief judge Cameron Bennett said although he was not playing the World Cup final for New Zealand but since he was born in Christchurch and has a Maori ancestry, he was still considered as a candidate to be honoured.
However, Stokes was too humble in his response. He said he was proud of his New Zealand and Maori heritage but thought it would not sit right with him for the nomination of such prestigious award.
In a statement, he said,
I am flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year. I am proud of my New Zealand and Maori heritage but it would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award. There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand.
Stokes suggests Williamson’s name instead
Stokes also came up with an alternative name and it was New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson. Announced the man of the series, Williamson won applause for his matured handling of the disappointment, even from the opposition ranks. Stokes said Williamson should be revered as a kiwi legend and he typifies what it is to be a New Zealander. Stokes felt Williamson is the worthy recipient of the award and pledged his own vote for him.
I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK – it has been since I was 12-years old. I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a kiwi legend.
He led his team in this World Cup with distinction and honour. He was the player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men. He shows humility and empathy to every situation and is an all-round good bloke. He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander. He would be a worthy recipient of this accolade. New Zealand, fully support him. He deserves it and gets my vote.
Stokes had said after the overthrow incident that he would remain apologetic to Williamson for the rest of his life.