Gary Lineker appeared to accidentally reveal that Ben Stokes had won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in an embarrassing on air gaffe.
Match of the Day host Lineker was introducing a segment celebrating England’s Cricket World Cup win, and when welcoming England players Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and Stokes onto the stage he declared Stokes as the “main award winner”.
Lineker had previously referred to Stokes’ competitors Raheem Sterling and Alun Wyn Jones as “contenders” when introducing them.
The presenter then made sure to clarify his comments when Stokes was on stage, admitting that it had been an accident.
Mirror columnist Stokes is the hot favourite to win the award at the ceremony in Aberdeen, but voting wasn’t even open at the time of Lineker’s premature announcement.
Stokes was the hero of England’s Cricket World Cup win and produced a stunning innings in a remarkable Ashes Test victory over Australia at Headlingley that many declared the greatest of all-time.
“Obviously winning the World Cup was the pinnacle of the year,” said Stokes before the ceremony.
“To be involved in something like that is hard to describe. We will always be able to look back on it as players.
“Australia managed to retain the Ashes but we still had a lot to play for – pride being a main thing and obviously not wanting to lose to Australia.
“No Englishman wants to lose to Australia! Coming out with a draw topped off a summer which will be very memorable.
“Even just to be recognised and nominated [for this award] is special. When I saw the video of Ed Sheeran announcing it, that alone was just incredible. It’s a great night.”