England all-rounder Ben Stokes calls for Kane Williamson to receive New Zealander of the Year prize

23 Jul

Ben Stokes has admitted he feels ‘flattered’ to be nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award but believes Black Caps captain Kane Williamson should win the prize.

World Cup winner Stokes was named man of the match as England beat New Zealand in a pulsating Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s earlier this month.

Stokes was England’s star player in an incredible final

The all-rounder, 28, was born in New Zealand but moved to England aged 12.

“It would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award,” said Stokes.

“There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand.

“I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK.”

Stokes believes Williamson should be the recipient of the New Zealander of the Year prize

The New Zealand public nominates ‘inspirational Kiwis’ for the award – those who believe they have made a “significant contribution to our nation and make us proud of our country”.

The likes of former New Zealand rugby union captain Richie McCaw, filmaker Taika Waititi and mental health campaigner Mike King have won the award in the past.

Stokes did say he was ‘proud’ of his New Zealand and Maori heritage but believes Williamson – who was named player of the tournament at the World Cup – to win.

“He [Williamson] should be revered as a Kiwi legend,” Stokes said. “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. 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.”

Cricket World Cup final: ‘Incredible, amazing’ – England’s Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Jofra Archer react to historic victory

14 Jul

England made history by winning the Cricket World Cup for the first time on Sunday.

The hosts and New Zealand remarkably finished level after 50 overs and so the tournament went down to a dramatic, deciding super-over.

England came out on top and you can read some of the players’ reactions below.

England captain Eoin Morgan lifted the World Cup

Eoin Morgan

“There wasn’t a lot in that game, jeez. I’d like to commiserate Kane [Williamson] and his team. I thought today was a hard, hard-fought game.

“On a tough wicket where everybody found it tough to score, we managed to restrict them to probably a good score and we lost wickets and were up against it. Buttler and Stokes put together a partnership…

“This has been a four year journey. We’ve developed a lot over the course of those four years, probably in particular the last two.

“We find it hard to play on wickets like that like good teams do around the world, but today was about getting over the line.

“Sport’s tough at times, but to get over the line means the world to us.”

Eoin Morgan with the trophy

Ben Stokes

“I don’t know, I’m pretty lost for words. I mean, all that hard work over that four years, to get here and be champions of the world, it’s an amazing feeling. I’m pretty done to be honest…

“It feels pretty good – I am lost for words. So much hard work has gone in, this is what we aspire to be. I don’t think there will ever be a better game in cricket than that.

“I have apologised countless times for that fluke, it’s not how you want to get them. There was no chance I wasn’t going to bat in that super over – I definitely wasn’t going to bowl anyway after last time…

“It’s fantastic. I don’t know what it is about finals that produce moments like that. It’s incredible. Amazing. We will find out tomorrow what it’s done for cricket – we’ve always had great support.

“The game was ebbing and flowing, I hope we have inspired people to want to do this in the future.”

Ben Stokes was overjoyed

Jos Buttler

“We wanted to take it deep. We didn’t really feel like the run rate would be an issue if we were both there at the end.

“Just trying to get a partnership together, as we said in the break. A couple of good partnerships will chase this down.

“So just trying to extend it, trying to put pressure back on New Zealand, and I don’t know what happened there at the end, that was unbelievable.

“Unbelievable, wasn’t it? I thought I’d seen everything in cricket and that game was just ridiculous. It’s very hard to put into words at the minute but what an unbelievable day.”

Jos Buttler hoisted the World Cup aloft

Jonny Bairstow

“I thought we bowled pretty well to be honest with you and then they put us under a heck of a lot of pressure early on with the ball.

“They took wickets and put it in the right areas so it was pretty tough, but the way that Stokesy and Jos then built on the partnership, I mean that’s won us the game at the end of the day.”

Jonny Bairstow had a well earned drink

Jofra Archer

“The last time I was in a final it didn’t go my way so that was in my mind.

“Stokesy came over and told me, win or lose, today will not define me as a player. The boys did so well to give us 15, I am so grateful they gave us the opportunity to compete.”

Jofra Archer celebrated wildly

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson

“Look, it certainly wasn’t for one extra run, there are so many parts in that match that could have gone either way.

“Congratulations to England, they had a fantastic campaign and deserve their victory.

“It’s been challenging, the pitches have been different. There was a lot of talk of 300+ scores but there hasn’t been much of that.

“We have showed heart and fight to get to this stage and a tie in the final – it wasn’t meant to be.

“The guys are shattered. It’s devastating. Tough to swallow.”

Kane Williamson had to walk past the trophy

New Zealand v England: Kane Williamson hits record century as rain visits Eden Park

23 Mar
New Zealand v England: Kane Williamson hits record century as rain visits Eden Park
Kane Williamson hit his 18th Test century

England were powerless to stop Kane Williamson registering a New Zealand record 18th Test century on a rain-wrecked second day of the pink-ball Test at Eden Park.

Williamson (102) completed his century, going one above team-mate Ross Taylor and Kiwi great Martin Crowe, before James Anderson saw him off with the second new ball.

After England’s miserable 58 all out in the first session of this series opener, the hosts consolidated adequately as they moved from 175 for three to 229 for four in the 23.1 overs possible.

British pop singer Ed Sheeran, in town for a weekend concert, was out of luck as rain ruined his trip to the cricket. He did visit both dressing rooms between the downpours to have a quick chat, though, and was presented with a bat by Mark Wood.

Much the heaviest of several showers interrupted play midway through the second session and, despite a later improvement, conditions did not allow a resumption.

The New Zealand captain – who had resumed on 91 – moved to his hundred in 196 balls, having hit 11 fours and one six.

At just 27, he has time on his side to set New Zealand’s run-making benchmark for the ages.

His third-wicket stand with Henry Nicholls ended on 83, though, when Anderson (three for 53) beat him with a touch of inswing as Williamson played outside the line to be lbw pushing forward.

By then, he had provided England’s batsmen with an object lesson in the patience required to negate early lateral movement – of which the visiting attack found much less than New Zealand’s
Trent Boult and Tim Southee – before cashing in on a pitch of easy pace and true bounce.

Nicholls took Williamson’s cue, in no hurry either and gradually accumulating low-risk runs to help consolidate New Zealand’s yawning advantage.

The left-hander was just a single short of his 50, from 143 balls, with BJ Watling for company when bad weather intervened.

England are therefore in a miserable spot, largely of their own making.

But so grim is the weekend forecast, it is not yet a forlorn hope that they could escape Auckland with an as yet undeserved stalemate.