Wisden: Ben Stokes & Jonny Bairstow named Cricketers of the Year
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England's Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow have been named as two of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Year.
All-rounder Stokes, 24, was named following a "string of match-changing performances", including his 198-ball 258 against South Africa in Cape Town.
Bairstow, 26, scored 1,108 runs in Yorkshire's County Championship victory and also helped England win the Ashes.
Australia's Steve Smith and New Zealand pair Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson complete Wisden's list.
Batsman Williamson, 25, was named as the leading cricketer in the world by Wisden, having "confirmed himself as one of the talents of his generation" with 2,692 international runs in 2015.
McCullum retired from international cricket in February, hitting the fastest Test century in history - off 54 balls - in his final game against Australia in Christchurch.
Durham's Stokes, who was recently hit for four successive sixes as West Indies snatched victory in the World Twenty20 final, smashed an 85-ball century against New Zealand last May - the fastest Test hundred at Lord's.
While compiling his 258 against South Africa in January, Stokes shared a 399-run partnership with Bairstow - a sixth-wicket record in Tests - as the Yorkshireman scored his maiden Test century.
"It was an exhibition of stroke play from Ben and the way we both went about it complemented each other," Bairstow told BBC Sport.
"It was all kind of a blur at the end of it. You're in your own little bubble, trying to knuckle down and get your first century.
"Stokesy played out of his skin at the other end and there I was just plodding along minding my own business. It was one of those mornings - if we beat that, we'll be very lucky."
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates, 28, was named as the world's leading women's cricketer after scoring a sixth one-day century, against England in February, to help "consolidate her status as one of the power hitters of the women's game".
The coveted awards, which began in 1889, are a central feature of the annual Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, the 153rd edition of which will be published on Thursday.
In the new edition, editor Lawrence Booth describes England's transformation into a more attacking side over the past 12 months as "the most uplifting story in international cricket of the year".
Booth identifies the appointment of Andrew Strauss as director of England cricket in May 2015 as a major factor in England's improvement, along with the decision to bring in Trevor Bayliss as head coach.
Cook the most inept Captain of all time? Two times Ashes winning captain. First captain in two decades to win in India. Captained an absolute annihilation of India at home. Captained a recent series win in SA. Captained England to a Champions Trophy final. Get a grip of yourself.
Just because Piers Morgan says he is England's best player, doesn't make it the case
KP has only the 17th best test average for England (of those with at least 20 innings) behind Joe Root, Gary Balance and Geoffrey Boycott.
Hard/impossible to justify player of the century
Sorry to see Brendon McCullum retiring as he represents all that is good in cricket, not least his adventurous captaincy. He still had plenty to offer IMHO.
Hopefully he will do as he suggests and rejoin South Africa next year, once he has destroyed their team ethic England will have no problem beating them.
Congrats to Jonny (and B Stokes) great honour and well deserved.
Root won the accolade 2014. Although I'm not 100% sure I think they make the award only once to a player.