Ben Stokes crowned Sports Personality of the Year after 2019 heroics

Ben Stokes has been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year after playing a key role in the team’s World Cup win and producing one of England’s most remarkable Test innings of all time against Australia at Headingley.

England’s World Cup side were also recognised in the team of the year category, while Jos Buttler’s run-out of Martin Guptill to seal the trophy in the final against New Zealand was voted moment of the year as cricket sealed a treble victory.

Stokes’ nearest rivals were Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One driver, who came second, and Dina Asher-Smith, the sprinter, in third.

Stokes’ win ends a barren run for cricketers in the award, as he becomes the first to win the prize since Freddie Flintoff in 2005. Stokes is the fifth player to have claimed the title since its inception in 1954, following Jim Laker (1956), David Steele (1975), Ian Botham (1981) and Flintoff.

The allrounder’s win will be seen a significant boost for cricket’s standing in England, not least given that not a single player had even managed a podium finish since the game went behind the paywall following the 2005 Ashes.

While the sight of Andy Murray receiving the award poolside while in Miami has become a regular one in recent years – Flintoff himself heard the news of his victory in a Lahore hotel at 3am in 2005 – the ECB allowed Stokes to attend the ceremony in Aberdeen, despite the fact that the rest of the Test squad departed to South Africa on Friday evening.

Stokes’ attendance at the prizegiving means that he will miss England’s first two-day warmup match in Benoni which starts on Tuesday, but that was seen as a price worth paying for the ECB as they attempt to return the game to public consciousness ahead of its return to free-to-air television next summer.

“It’s been huge,” said Jason Roy – who attended the ceremony alongside white-ball captain Eoin Morgan – of the World Cup win’s significance for the game’s public standing. “For us to work so hard for the four years and for it to come down to that moment, and to wake up the following day and keep getting messages… to inspire people like we did was incredible.”

Earlier in the evening, host Gary Lineker had mistakenly introduced Stokes as the “main award winner” rather than “nominee” before the public vote had even opened, perhaps reflecting the fact that the allrounder was the odds-on favourite with the bookmakers.

The rest of England’s Test squad watched the show from their hotel in Johannesburg, and were part of a huge social media push from the English cricketing world encouraging people to vote.

Steve Smith’s 774 runs in seven Ashes innings earned him a nomination in the World Sport Star category, but he was beaten by Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge.