Wisden Player of the Year 2015 contenders announced

It has been a busy year of cricket with some high profile test match competitions and domestic competitions using various formats of the game, but five players have stood out over the last year of action.

Wisden Player of the Year 2015 contenders announced
Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow made an incredible partnership in South Africa (photo: Sky Sports)

England duo Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes have been nominated alongside Kiwis Kane Williamson and Brendan McCullum, plus Australia captain Steve Smith in Wisden's annual Player of the Year vote.

Bairstow's brilliance

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has been in fine form for both his country and his club over the past year. After a late call up to England's Ashes squad, Bairstow helped his side to victory in the fourth test with an innings of 74 to help them to victory.

A maiden test century and world record partnership of 258 with fellow contender Ben Stokes was a highlight on the tour of South Africa, whilst Bairstow has also scored over 1,000 domestic runs for Yorkshire on route to the County Championship title.

Superb Stokes

Ben Stokes was influential in England's Ashes success, whilst also having a decent tour of Pakistan with both bat and ball. 

Yet his highlight no doubt came when he smashed a record 258 runs from 167 balls in that partnership with Bairstow in South Africa. That was just the icing on the cake of an incredible tour for the all-rounder who cemented his place in the side as a key figure.

Wily Williamson

It was an incredible year for the now New Zealand captain, as he scored 2,692 international runs, the third most runs in a single year, and was confirmed as the leading cricketer in the world by Wisden.

Williamson became the fastest New Zealander to score 3,000 runs and also scored the most test runs in a calendar year, after successful series' against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Marvellous McCullum

The former New Zealand captain retired from international cricket this year, but not after he hit the fastest test match century off just 54 balls in his final game. 

Australia will be happy to see the back of the astute batsman, as he also helped his country to victory in his last one day international match to earn New Zealand the Chapell-Hadlee trophy.

Stylish Smith

It has been a year of landmarks for new Australia captain Steve Smith. The all-rounder surpassed the legendary batsman Sir Don Bradman to score the most runs by an opposing batter in a test series in India at the start of the year.

He then became the second youngest player to reach the ICC number one test batsman ranking after some great performance against West Indies in June, as he continues to make his name in sport as one of the greatest.