Saturday 20 July 2019 2:01 AM UTC
LONDON July 20: Ben Stokes is in contention for another against-the-odds win after being nominated for the coveted New Zealander of the Year award.
The annual prize is described as a “prestigious national award honouring people for their contribution to the wellbeing of our country.”
The first criteria listed to be considered for a nomination is “contribution and benefit to society and impact on community or nation by the individual being nominated.”
Well, Stokes’s impact on the New Zealand community cannot be denied. Whether that contribution was beneficial or not is up for debate.
Also evaluated is “length of service” and “details of any challenges faced and how they have been overcome.”
Allow us to address those. First, Stokes was born in New Zealand before moving to England aged 12.
While his parents eventually moved back to Christchurch, Stokes stayed and – regarding “challenges faced” – went on to deny the Black Caps in the Cricket World Cup final on Sunday.
The England all-rounder was instrumental as New Zealand lost at Lord’s in agonising fashion on Sunday.
A match-winning innings of 84 included a bizarre six after a fielder’s throw from the boundary inadvertently hit his sliding bat and ran away for four as England matched New Zealand’s 50-over total of 241.
Stokes then hit 8 in the subsequent Super Over, which also finished as a tie, as England were crowned world champions due to hitting more boundaries in the match.
The award’s chief judge, Cameron Bennett, said: “He might not have been playing for the Black Caps but, having been born in Christchurch, and with Maori ancestry, there’s clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him.”
Nominations are made by the public and close in September before a 10-person shortlist is drawn up in December and eventual winner announced in February.
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