Ben Stokes wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year award

Ben Stokes has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Stokes had an incredible summer when he held his nerve with an unbeaten 84 in the Cricket World Cup final.

Just over a month later his glorious 135 not out at Headingley won the third Ashes Test for England, though ultimately Australia would retain the urn despite his heroics.

The 28-year-old was the overwhelming bookmakers' favourite for the award and he finished ahead of Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Asher-Smith at the event in Aberdeen on Sunday night.

It is a story of redemption for Stokes, who in 2018 was cleared of affray charges following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September of the previous year.

Also on the six-person shortlist were world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Wales rugby captain Alun Wyn Jones and England forward Raheem Sterling.

Ben Stokes and wife Clare Ratcliffe during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019. Credit: PA

After receiving the award, Stokes said: "First of all, congratulations to all the nominees, what you have managed to achieve as individuals and what you have managed to do for your sport is seriously sensational.

"Obviously it's an individual award but I play in a team sport and the best thing about that is you get to share special moments with team-mates, backroom staff and management who make days like we had in the summer possible.

"I'm up here receiving this award but without the efforts you put in this summer, I wouldn't up here be doing that. So thank you so much."

Stokes added: "Two years ago was a tough time for me in my life. I've had so many people help me through that.

"My fantastic manager, friend Neil Fairbrother is here tonight. You are more than an agent as you get called these days. You're an incredible human being and an incredible man.

"I literally don't know how you've put up with Andrew Flintoff to start with and then me!"

Stokes alongside his England Cricket World Cup teammates Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy. Credit: PA

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, to Deb and Ged on June 4, 1991, Stokes' father uprooted the family to the other side of the world when his son was 12 to return to rugby league club Workington Town in a head coach capacity.

Stokes signed a professional deal with Durham and made a near-instant impact on his senior debut when he bowled Mark Ramprakash with his third delivery in a List A fixture.

England soon came calling and he dipped his toes into both international white-ball formats not long after turning 20, although he and Matt Coles were sent home from a Lions tour for breaking rules on drinking in February 2013.

The misdemeanour failed to halt Stokes' upward career trajectory. By the end of the year he was getting his first taste of the Ashes, marking his second Test with a defiant maiden international century in a losing cause in Perth.

The following year marked a downturn in fortunes, ruled out of the 2014 World Twenty20 because of a broken hand he sustained by punching a locker in a fit of pique before a loss of form led to him being dropped from the Test and one-day sides.

He was brought back into the international fold after being a notable absentee for the 2015 World Cup disaster and duly cemented his place in all forms with a remarkable 85-ball Test ton against New Zealand at Lord's.

A six-wicket haul was instrumental in England regaining the 2015 Ashes at Trent Bridge, while he registered the second-fastest double-century in Test history with a thunderous 258 during the winter tour to South Africa.

Carlos Brathwaite pricked his aura in the 2016 World Twenty20 final in Mumbai, while worse was to follow when he was arrested the following year for his role in a melee outside a Bristol nightclub.

The incident sent shockwaves through cricket and led to Stokes' omission from the 2017-18 Ashes tour.

He was found not guilty of affray in 2018 following a well-publicised trial, though he was fined by the England and Wales Cricket Board's Cricket Discipline Commission because of the street fight and some unsavoury social media posts.

Stokes making a run during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's. Credit: PA

Having also lost the Test vice-captaincy following the saga - he has since regained it - there was a more mature edge to Stokes on his return.

Gone were the rambunctious edges to his game in favour of more control, especially with the bat.

He lit the touch paper in the World Cup opener with an outrageous catch but saved his best for last.

First his 84 not out led England to what seemed an improbable tie against New Zealand before he was among those who starred in the dramatic Super Over.

Many thought it would be his career pinnacle but barely a month on he was back at the coalface, carrying England to yet another scarcely believable victory in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

As he celebrated with Jack Leach after pulling off a one-wicket heist over Australia in a breathtaking climax, Stokes' 135 not out was being eulogised as the best ever innings by an England player.

Stokes and Jack Leach celebrate winning the third Ashes Test match at Headingley. Credit: PA

Having channelled the derring-do of Sir Ian Botham's 1981 exploits at the same venue, what was striking when he spoke later was his attempt to deflect attention from himself, insisting personal fulfilment was a distant second to the collective aim.

That was evidenced when he neither raised his bat nor removed his helmet upon reaching his century.

There was still a job to do, with 33 runs still required, and only when it was completed did Stokes unleash his emotions.

"I looked at the bigger picture," he said. "There was still a lot more runs to get. Personal milestones, especially in that situation, mean absolutely nothing.

"I was not bothered about how many runs I was on, it was all about making sure we got over the line. I did not really care to be honest."

But he could do nothing to deflect the praise that came his way on Sunday night when he became the first cricketer since England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff in 2005 to win the prestigious BBC award.