Australia captain Steven Smith has been crowned the ICC Cricketer of the Year for 2015 following a stunning 12 months for the Sydney-born batsman. The 26-year-old finished the year as the highest-scoring Test player – with 1,734 runs – and as a World Cup winner after hitting the crucial runs in victory over New Zealand in Melbourne.
Smith was also named the ICC Test player of the year, despite Australia failing to retain the Ashes against England. The 26-year-old did, however, hit his highest career score to date during the tour, with 215 at Lord's in July.
Since being named as the successor to retired skipper Michael Clarke, Smith is the fourth different recipient of the award following Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson and his predecessor as captain. Despite enjoying a fruitful season in Test and limited overs cricket, Smith admits defeat to England still wrangles.
"I would say an away Ashes win [is the biggest disappointment] and that is the one thing that we have not been able to tick off this year and it would have made it an incredible year," he said. "To win a World Cup at home was extremely special and one of those memories of cricket that I will never forget. It was an amazing feeling to hit the winning runs.
"The toughest feeling was the fourth Test match when the Ashes were gone. Getting bowled out for 60 it was a pretty long way back from there and that would have to be the most disappointing moment of the year."
South Africa captain AB de Villiers was named the one-day player of the year for a second straight season after his record-breaking performances at the World Cup. The 31-year-old hit the fastest ODI half-century, hundred and 150 against the West Indies and earlier this month was named as the captain of the ICC one-day team of the year.
No England players were honoured by the ICC but both Alastair Cook and Joe Root were named in the ICC Test team of the year. Both players played a significant role in England reclaiming the Ashes from Australia in a year that also include a series defeat to Pakistan and draws with West Indies and New Zealand.