Kane Williamson has furrowed fresh cricketing ground, becoming the first New Zealander selected as Wisden's Leading Cricketer in the World.

He and former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum have also been named as one of the publication's 'five cricketers of the year', while White Ferns captain Suzie Bates is the Leading Women's Cricketer in the World.

The parameters were the 2015 calendar year.

Williamson's honour has only been bestowed by the sport's longest-serving annual publication since 2004. He joins Australians Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Michael Clarke, Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag (twice), Sri Lankans Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara (twice), South Africans Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, and Englishman Andrew Flintoff as past recipients.

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The pair were chosen by Wisden editor Lawrence Booth for the award, which has been handed out in various formats since 1889. The principal criteria is excellence or influence on the previous English summer. No one can be chosen more than once, although exceptions were made for Englishmen Plum Warner and Jack Hobbs early in the 20th century.

This year is the first time two New Zealand players have been selected in the same season. A third member of this year's selection, England all-rounder Ben Stokes, was also born in Christchurch.

England's Jonny Bairstow and Australia's Steve Smith complete the five cricketers of the year.

The other Kiwis to achieve the honour are Jeetan Patel (2015), Chris Cairns (2000), Martin Crowe (1985), Jeremy Coney (1984), Sir Richard Hadlee (1982), Bevan Congdon (1974), Glenn Turner (1971), Dick Motz (1966), John R Reid (1959), Bert Sutcliffe (1950), Martin Donnelly (1948), Stewie Dempster 1932) and Roger Blunt (1928).

Williamson's 132 for New Zealand against England at Lord's last May saw him become the sixth batsman, after Tendulkar, Don Bradman, Neil Harvey, Graeme Smith and Garry Sobers, to score 10 or more test centuries before turning 25. Drawing on four seasons' English county experience, Williamson became the 13th New Zealand name to appear on the ground's 'Visitors' batting honours board. In the ODI series he averaged 79.20 from five innings at a strike rate of 104.

He is currently part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad Indian Premier League squad but will rejoin Yorkshire from June 9 to July 18 as they chase three consecutive county championships.

In 2015 Williamson scored 2,692 runs at an average of 65.65 and strike rate of 75 across all international formats. That is the third highest aggregate in a calendar year behind Kumar Sangakkara in 2014 (2868, 53.11, 67) and Ricky Ponting in 2005 (2833, 56.66, 71).

In his eight tests Williamson scored the most runs in a calendar year by a New Zealander (1172) and made the most centuries (five).

In 2015 Kane Williamson scored 2,692 runs at an average of 65.65 and strike rate of 75 across all international formats. Photo / Paul Taylor
In 2015 Kane Williamson scored 2,692 runs at an average of 65.65 and strike rate of 75 across all international formats. Photo / Paul Taylor

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

McCullum's own award was based as much on his leadership as his batting. In England his side were revered by players, administrators, media and fans. Pundits queried why New Zealand were only allotted two tests. As Booth put it in his editor's notes:

"For the first time, few English fans wanted the pre-Ashes appetiser to end.

"An English summer has rarely witnessed a more popular touring captain."

The 1-1 result was the Black Caps' seventh consecutive undefeated series. The win at Headingley was their first test victory in England for 16 years.

McCullum's own award was based as much on his leadership as his batting. Photo / Getty Images
McCullum's own award was based as much on his leadership as his batting. Photo / Getty Images

McCullum also led New Zealand to their first World Cup final and maintained an unbeaten test record as captain at home until Australia's visit this year. His guidance helped New Zealand equal their previous best of 13 undefeated tests between March 1987 and January 1992.

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. Wisden noted the highlight was her sixth one-day century, made in a victory over England.

"It needed something special to deny [Australians] Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry this award, and Bates's all-round performances were precisely that," Booth said.
In ODIs she averaged 48.75 from 14 innings, and took 13 wickets at 21 with an economy rate of 3.74. InT20s she averaged 26 with the bat at a strike rate of 108.

Lanning was the inaugural recipient last year.

Wisden's Leading Cricketer of the World

2004 Ricky Ponting
2005 Shane Warne
2006 Andrew Flintoff
2007 Muttiah Muralitharan
2008 Jacques Kallis
2009 and 2010 Virender Sehwag
2011 Sachin Tendulkar
2012 and 2015 Kumar Sangakkara
2013 Michael Clarke
2014 Dale Steyn
2016 Kane Williamson

Former Wisden cricketers of the year from New Zealand

2015 Jeetan Patel
2000 Chris Cairns
1985 Martin Crowe
1984 Jeremy Coney
1982 Sir Richard Hadlee
1974 Bevan Congdon
1971 Glenn Turner
1966 Dick Motz
1959 John R Reid
1950 Bert Sutcliffe
1948 Martin Donnelly
1932 Stewie Dempster
1928 Roger Blunt

Williamson's 2015

• Scored 2,692 runs at an average of 65.65 and strike rate of 75 across all international formats.
• That is the third highest aggregate in a calendar year behind Kumar Sangakkara in 2014 (2868, average 53.11, strike rate 67) and Ricky Ponting in 2005 (2833, 56.66, 71).
• In eight tests Williamson scored the most runs in a calendar year by a New Zealander (1172) and made the most centuries (five).