The English cricketer who broke a nation's heart is among early nominations for the New Zealander of the Year Award.
Kiwi-born Ben Stokes is among nominations for the award; along with gutsy Black Caps captain Kane Williamson, Newstalk ZB host Simon Barnett, former league star Manu Vatuvei and one of the heroes of the Christchurch mosque attacks, Abdul Aziz.
Stokes, who moved to England when he was 12 with his parents, proved to be England's match-winner in Monday's Cricket World Cup final, smashing 92 runs during the dramatic win which has left Kiwi cricket fans and players heartbroken.
Prior to his nomination being confirmed, British PM contender Boris Johnson also promised he would knight Stokes.
New Zealander of the Year Awards chief judge Cameron Bennett said both Stokes and Williamson had received several nominations after the World Cup final.
"The way he [Williamson] conducted himself, not only in the face of such devastating 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.
"Interesting, too, to see some character having a bob each way: we also received nominations for England's hero, Ben Stokes.
"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's clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him."
Nominations close for the award on September 15.
A shortlist of 10 will be announced in December, with the winner to be confirmed next February.
Not only did Stokes impress with his match-winning batting, he also showed incredible sportsmanship after asking the umpires to take away four runs they had awarded to him after a throw from Black Cap Martin Guptill struck his bat and headed to the boundary.
But the umpires stuck by their call to award him six runs – four overthrows and the two runs he was in the process of completing.
His act of good sportsmanship was revealed by Stokes' England test teammate Jimmy Anderson.
Earlier this week, Stokes' proud father, former league coach Gerard Stokes, said a draw would have been nice in the final given he was supporting both the Black Caps and his son.
"[A draw] would've been nice but there's always got to be a winner in a world cup.
"The way that Ben batted was a tribute to both teams in the way that they tried so hard to win that cup.
"He was over the moon being a part of that match and also have an influence on the result as well ... the way he played epitomised both teams I think."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission