Ben Stokes’s Spoty crown is a triumph for that silly little game of cricket | Jonathan Liew

Coming 14 years after Andrew Flintoff in 2005, Ben Stokes’s coronation felt like a vindication. But of what, exactly?No sooner had the polls closed than the recriminations could begin. Horror and dismay at Katarina Johnson‑Thompson HQ. Rumours Dina Asher-Smith would announce her resignation as early as Monday morning. Sources in the Lewis Hamilton campaign briefing that their candidate’s tax policy had gone down disastrously on the doorstep. Back in the studio, white-haired psephologists feverishly picked over the historic implications of the vote, and in particular the crumbling of Alun Wyn Jones’s “red wall”.Well, maybe not. And yet, as the ticker tape tumbled in Aberdeen, as Ben Stokes clutched the sports personality of the year trophy in his meaty hands, we were again reminded that public opinion is a strange little egg, a slavering argot you try to decrypt at your peril. It was, we were immediately told via an England and Wales Cricket Board press release, a seismic moment not just for Stokes but for the entire sport. A triumph to inspire the next generation. Coming 14 years since Andrew Flintoff in 2005, the last cricketer to win the award, Stokes’s coronation certainly felt like a vindication of something. But what, exactly? Continue reading…