English cricketer Ben Stokes has turned down his nomination for New Zealander of the Year – and urged the country to get behind Black Caps' Captain Kane Williamson.
New Zealand-born Stokes – who crushed Kiwi cricket fans' World Cup hopes with his 92 runs in last week's final - said he was flattered to receive the nomination.
"I am proud of my New Zealand and Maori heritage but it would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award," Stokes told British media.
"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 – it has been since I was 12 years old," Stokes said.
"I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a Kiwi legend. 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."
Stokes' nomination for New Zealander of the Year was revealed only days after his World-Cup winning performance.
New Zealander of the Year Awards chief judge Cameron Bennett last week said both Stokes and Williamson had received several nominations after the World Cup final.
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.
Nominations for New Zealand of the Year award close on September 15.