England allrounder Ben Stokes has been crowned as the BBC Sports Personality of The Year 2019 becoming first cricketer since Andrew Flintoff (2005) and fifth overall to achieve the feat.
It was a hat-trick of titles for England at the event as they also snagged the moment of the year and team of the year awards as well. Stokes played the starring role in lifting England to their maiden ODI world cup title earlier this year before a launching a stunning comeback at Headingley during the Ashes series to secure a win for the ages.
“There are so many people to thank when you win something like this,” Stokes said after collecting the trophy. “It is an individual award but I play in a team sport and the best thing about that is you get to spend special moments with teammates, backroom staff and management. I’m up here receiving this award but I’m not just up here by myself. Without the efforts that you (the team) put in this summer, I wouldn’t be up here. Thank you so much.”
The crowning moment was completed Stokes’ redemption as he saw his international career dented through his involvement in a street brawl in 2017 that resulted in suspension. However, since then, the 28-year-old has garnered attention due to his on-field antics as he delivered a memorable summer in England cricket history.
“Two years ago was a tough time for me in my life and I’ve had so many people help me through that. My fantastic manager and friend Neil Fairbrother, you’re more than an agent, you’re an incredible man. I don’t know how you’ve put up with Andrew Flintoff and me, you and [Fairbrother’s wife] Audrey, you’re incredible people,” Stokes said.
He continued, “My parents, they live on the other side of the world, they don’t get to share moments like this, the World Cup and be there with me, but the time you dedicated to me growing up, the selflessness to get me to training camps and around the country, this is for you. I love you so much, thank you. To my amazing wife, Clare. Family to me is more important than what I do for a living. It puts perspective on everything, after the good and bad days they are there for me no matter what. My two kids too, they are awesome I love you so much.”
England ODI captain Eoin Morgan was effusive in his praise. “Ben is a thoroughly deserving winner. The team always comes first for Ben and he gives everything for the boys around him. He’s a great man to have in the dressing room and so talented with bat and ball,” he said.
Joe Root, England Test captain, said “When his team really needed him in 2019, Ben delivered and he truly deserves this accolade. We’re looking forward to him joining us in South Africa and we’re hoping for more fireworks from Ben in the series down here and for many years to come.”