Stokes declines New Zealander of the Year nomination

While proud of his Maori and New Zealand heritage, England's World Cup hero Ben Stokes emphasised that his life has been firmly established in the UK. He urged voters to rally behind Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson.

Ben Stokes after England won the World Cup.   -  Getty Images

For cricket enthusiasts world over, the ICC Men's World Cup final was a roller-coaster experience. The nerve-wracking game finished with England lifting the title for the first time and a hero emerged in Ben Stokes.

Incidentally, Stokes, the Man of the Match, and a player who has bailed England out of many a sticky wicket, is originally from Christchurch, New Zealand.

The world had a good laugh with a pinch of salt when it was announced that the all-rounder has been nominated as New Zealander of the Year.

READ : Stokes nominated for...New Zealander of the Year

Stokes politely refused the nomination in a Facebook post, saying he won the World Cup for England and his life is firmly established in the UK.

"I am flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year," he said in the post.

"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’ match-winning innings of 84 allowed England to tie New Zealand’s score of 241-8. He was also involved in a controversial umpiring decision when a throw from Black Caps fielder Martin Guptill deflected off his bat while he was diving to reach his crease to complete the second run and raced to the boundary. 

READ : Stokes asked umpires not to add four overthrows to England total, says Anderson

The game went into a super over and Stokes rose to the occasion there too, helping England get 15 runs on the board. The host eventually won by virtue of a count back of boundaries hit during the match.  

"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," he added.

New Zealand - labelled the 'nice guys' - was lauded for its sportsmanship and spirit throughout the tournament. Perhaps, it takes a Kiwi to beat a Kiwi. That was the story of that final. As it turns out though, the narrative continues.

Stokes declared his vote to NZ skipper Kane Williamson, who is also nominated, calling him an "all-round good bloke."

"He (Kane) 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," Stokes said, heaping praise on Williamson.

"He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander. Fully support him, he deserves it and gets my vote," Stokes added.

In its 11th year now, the awards have seen New Zealanders across various fields pick up the top honours. The winners include former rugby union captain Richie McCaw and filmmaker Taika Waititi.

Nominations for the award will close in September. A short-list of 10 nominees will be announced in December. The winners, across multiple categories, will be declared in a grand ceremony in February.