14 Apr 2016

New Zealand cricketers named best in world

5:43 am on 14 April 2016

New Zealand cricket captains Kane Williamson and Suzie Bates have been named leading cricketers in the world for 2015 by Wisden.

White Ferns captain Suzie Bates and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson

White Ferns captain Suzie Bates and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson Photo: PHOTOSPORT / AFP

Williamson along with former captain Brendon McCullum were named in the respected cricket publication's five players of the year along with England's Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes and Australian captain Steve Smith.

The choice of Williamson "in an era of highly gifted young batsmen reflects the measured brilliance he brings to every format of the game," Wisden Cricketers' Almanack stated. "Brendon McCullum reckons he is going to be one of the best batsmen the game has ever seen, and it's hard to disagree."

Williamson's international aggregate in 2015 was a staggering 2692 - a full 323 ahead of second-placed Steve Smith, and the third-highest annual total of all time.

Suzie Bates spent 2015 consolidating her status as one of the power hitters of the women's game, not least when scoring 258 during the 5-0 one-day whitewash of Sri Lanka.

But Wisden said the highlight was her sixth one-day century, made in the victory over England in February.

"It needed something special to deny both [Australian captain] Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry this award and Bates's all-round performances were precisely that," said editor Lawrence Booth.

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.

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 today.