England pair Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow receive Wisden accolade

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England's 2015 Ashes-winners Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow have been chosen among Wisden's five Cricketers of the Year.

All-rounder Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow, whose prolific run of form for Yorkshire helped win him back his Test place last summer and bring a second successive County Championship to Headingley, are joined by New Zealanders Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson and new Australia captain Steve Smith.

Wisden has also named Williamson as Leading Cricketer in the World after his 2,692 international runs across the formats in 2015 - the third-highest annual aggregate ever.

The historic and prestigious Cricketer of the Year accolade can be won just once by any player, and is judged primarily via influence on the previous English summer.

Stokes' and Bairstow's were evident in England's thrilling 3-2 Ashes victory, and both went on to further enhance their standing through a winter in which their record partnership of 399 against South Africa in Cape Town featured the Yorkshireman's maiden Test century and an astonishing display of sustained hitting as the Durham all-rounder racked up 258.

McCullum's New Zealand were credited by many at the start of last season with helping England set a new tone of adventure in a drawn Test series and a limited-overs run-fest too.

That accounts in part for the captain and the prolific batsman's places in Wisden's coveted category - while their compatriot Suzie Bates is named as the women's Leading Cricketer.

Wisden editor Lawrence Booth congratulates England, in his notes section, for their re-emergence after the World Cup debacle of early 2015.

He describes their transformation as "the most uplifting story in international cricket".

Booth adds: "[in May] a timid defeat in Barbados was followed by a tumultuous victory over New Zealand at Lord's - and England instantly became a side you wanted to tell your friends about.

"There would be rapids down river, but the players were now approaching them head on, not paddling round the edge, quoting the percentage chance of falling in.

"Records fell like confetti. England passed 400 for the first time in a one-day international, and knocked off 350 in another. They made their highest one-day score overseas, in Dubai (355 for five), then smashed it a few weeks later, in Bloemfontein (399 for nine). Jos Buttler scored a hundred off 66 balls, then - as if to make up for his tardiness - off 46.

"Stuart Broad took eight for 15 as Australia were demolished for 60 at Trent Bridge, then six for 17 to skittle South Africa for 83 at Johannesburg. The two most resonant national records fell one after the other: in Antigua, Jimmy Anderson overtook Ian Botham's Test-wickets haul, and went on past 400; at Leeds, Alastair Cook surpassed Graham Gooch's Test-runs tally, and approached 10,000."

There was much change of personnel off the pitch as a new administration and coaching regime took over.

"In a delightful turn-up for the form guide, the ECB - having spent the previous year losing touch with reality - were making some smart decisions," the editor's notes continue.

"Victory at the Wanderers in January 2016, to knock South Africa off the top of the Test rankings, confirmed that a different kind of hope had taken hold. It was the most uplifting story in international cricket all year, the more so for being utterly unexpected."

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