Darren Gough has tipped Ben Stokes to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year following his terrific displays for the England cricket team in 2019.
The iconic fast bowler backed Stokes to lift the prestigious award, despite also rooting for Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton, who Gough believes should be knighted.
Stokes was a key player in the England’s Cricket World Cup-winning ODI side, and produced one of the all-time great innings against Australia in Third Test of the Ashes series at Headingley.
Gough will be following Stokes over the next few weeks as he fronts talkSPORT‘s exclusive live radio coverage of England’s winter tour in South Africa.
He said: “If you look at the history of it, during an Ashes year is a cricketer’s best chance of winning Sports Personality of the Year.
“With Ben Stokes, it’s not just an Ashes year, it’s the World Cup as well, and he was a big part of that.
“After the personal troubles he went through, he turned it around to get the public back onside with some unbelievable cricket he played in the World Cup.
“When England needed someone to stand up, he was the man who stood up and did it in that World Cup final, and then he went back out and did it in the super over.
“And then he did it again in the Ashes. We didn’t win the series, but that innings at Headingley alone… He was two from 50 balls and finished with 135 not out [after 219 balls].
“It was 76, the last wicket partnership, and Jack Leach got one run.”
Stokes’ is the clear favourite to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019 at the glitzy ceremony on Sunday evening, but Gough was quick to praise one of his top competitors on the shortlist.
He said: “To be fair, there’s been some fantastic things.
“I’m a massive F1 fan and Lewis Hamilton doesn’t get the credit I think he deserves.
“He should have a knighthood by now.
“Six world titles, 83 Grand Prix wins but he’s just got caught in a year where Ben Stokes has been out of this world.”