WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Allrounder Ben Stokes, who guided England to victory over New Zealand in the final of the cricket World Cup, has been nominated as New Zealander of the Year.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has also been nominated.
Stokes’ match-winning innings of 84 allowed England to tie New Zealand’s score of 241-8 and he then helped the home team prevail after a tie-breaking “super over” in which both teams scored 15 runs. England won on a count back of boundaries hit during the match.
Stokes 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.
Stokes has remained in England since, though his parents Gerard and Deb returned to live in the South Island city of Christchurch.
New Zealander of the Year chief judge Cameron Bennett said 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 Kiwis about who think we can still claim him.”
Bennett said the way Williamson conducted himself in the face of devastating disappointment in the final and throughout the World Cup resonated with Kiwis.
“He’s been the embodiment of the qualities we cherish as New Zealanders _ courage, fairness, humility,” he said.