England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Tuesday said that Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson would be a worthy recipient of New Zealander of the Year award.
Stokes in an Instagram post acknowledged his New Zealand heritage and said that he is delighted to be nominated for the title. However, he stressed that the award would not sit right with him.
“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 wrote.
The cricketer further said that he helped England lift its maiden ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and added that he has established himself in the UK since he was 12 years old.
“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 said.
Stokes said that New Zealand should support their captain Williamson as he had led the Kiwis to the World Cup final and was adjudged Player of the Tournament. The England all-rounder added that Williamson is an inspirational leader who shows humility and empathy to every situation.
Stokes signed off, saying Williamson gets his vote and deserves the award.
“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 player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men,” he noted.
“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 said.
New Zealand-born Stokes played a crucial role in England’s World Cup victory as he starred for the hosts in the final match against New Zealand. The left-hander played a knock of 84 runs in the final and finished with 465 runs in the tournament.
“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 are clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him,” Cameron Bennett, the New Zealander of the Year Awards Chief Judge, had said.
Stokes is also likely to receive knighthood after showcasing a match-winning performance in the final as both candidates for next UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt expressed their desire to give the player ‘knighthood’.
New Zealand captain has also been nominated for the award. Williamson’s composure after the World Cup loss was lauded by many people within the sporting fraternity.
“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,” Bennett said.
All New Zealand citizens who are older than 15 years are eligible to be nominated. The shortlist of 10 candidates to be considered for the award will be announced in December, and the 2020 winner will be revealed at the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards in February.
England scripted history on July 14 by claiming their first-ever World Cup title. The final will be remembered for ages as neither the 50-over nor the subsequent super over action could separate the teams.
In the end, England were declared as the winner on the basis of boundary countback rule. The hosts had hit 26 boundaries as compared to New Zealand’s 17 boundaries in the match.
(With ANI inputs)