Ben Stokes nominated for ‘New Zealander of the Year’ award

England‘s Ben Stokes put in a Man-of-the-Match performance in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 against New Zealand, helping England claim their maiden ICC World Cup Trophy. NZ, on the other hand, endured their second straight World Cup final heartbreak.

Yet, it is that same Stokes – the major reason for that heartbreak – who has been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award, alongside NZ skipper Kane Williamson. ALSO READ: Why did it take Sachin Tendulkar to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this long?

Stokes is eligible for the award as he was born in New Zealand; but moved to England with his family when he was 12. His father Gerard, who played rugby league for New Zealand, was then coaching in England. ALSO READ: Cricket World Cup: A ‘real shame’ the trophy was decided on boundary count, rues Kane Williamson

“He 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 Kiwis about who think we can still claim him,” The ‘New Zealander of the Year’ award chief judge Cameron Bennett said on the nomination.

Williamson, who scored 578 runs in the World Cup at an average of 82.57 and led New Zealand admirably till the final, was nominated for his conduct during the tournament, especially after the World Cup final drama unfolded. ALSO READ: Vitality T20 Blast: AB de Villiers hits 43-ball 88* on Middlesex debut, Moeen Ali stars for Worcestershire

“The way [Williamson] conducted himself, not only in the face of such devasting disappointment at Lord’s but throughout the tournament, resonated powerfully with Kiwis from all walks of life. He’s been the embodiment of the qualities we cherish as New Zealanders courage, fairness, humility,” said Bennett.

Others to have been nominated include former rugby league player Manu Vatuvei, Christchurch shootings hero Abdul Aziz and Hepatitis C treatment pioneer Professor Ed Gane.

A shortlist of 10 candidates to be considered for the award will be announced in December, with the 2020 winner revealed at the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards in February.

The last sportsman to win the New Zealander of the Year award was Richie McCaw in 2016. The three previous winners include Mike King, Kristine Bartlett and Taika Waititi.