England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award.
Stokes starred in England’s win over New Zealand in the World Cup final at Lord’s last week. Regulation play and the Super Over were tied, but tournament rules afforded the English victory on the back of a superior boundary count.
The Christchurch-born Stokes has been nominated alongside New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who was named Player of the Tournament in London last week. The shortlist of nominees hasn’t been announced yet, but Stokes and Williamson are early contenders amid the public’s vote.
‘There’s clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim Stokes,’ awards judge Cameron Bennet was quoted as saying by Stuff.
‘Williamson has been the embodiment of the qualities we cherish as New Zealanders – courage, fairness, humility.’
Film maker Taika Waititi and former All Blacks captain Ritchie McCaw have won the award previously.
Meanwhile, former England director of cricket Andrew Strauss has heralded Stokes’ ability to rise above the negativity associated with 2017’s brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol. Stokes was suspended, fined and later acquitted of affray after the incident.
‘I remember going down to the police station. I spent a long time with Clare, his wife, waiting for him to come out of the jail,’ said Strauss.
‘And what struck me as soon as he came out was actually his character, because he stood up. From that moment on, I thought this was going to be a good thing for him. It was very hard to know which way it was going to go.
‘People can go two ways after something like that happens to them. Anyone who knows Ben, or who has played with him, knows what an incredible person he is to have on your team.’
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