(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Ben Stokes has earned legendary status through his exploits on the cricket field this summer and his Sports Personality of the Year award underlines how much the British public admires him.
The award truly is the icing on the cake of a fantastic 12 months for the Durham all-rounder.
In the last year, Stokes has earned back the England vice-captaincy and taken his game to a whole new level – culminating in those two magical Sundays at Lord’s and Headingley which led England to World Cup glory and a barely believable victory in the third Ashes Test.
I still get goosebumps when I think back to both matches and it’s amazing how much of the action was focused around one man.
No matter where I go, people come up to me and want to speak about Ben Stokes. His profile is enormous.
That’s because not only were this summer’s performances incredible, but they were accessible to the nation – millions watched the World Cup final on free-to-air television and weeks later, many tuned into Test Match Special, perhaps more in dread than anticipation of the theatre which was to unfold.
I’m personally delighted for Ben because I’ve always found him a delight to deal with. I have always enjoyed interviewing him – he tries very hard and is always polite. I have a very good relationship with Ben, as I do his parents.
They are lovely people and their son is an extraordinary cricketer.