1. Graeme Smith (South Africa)
Close, but no: Alastair Cook (England)
'You can't teach an old dog new tricks,' reads the old adage. But in Smith's case, there is still plenty to gain, and this month's series defeat to New Zealand was at least offset by Smith's promising 66 in Kimberley and outstanding century in Potchefstroom. Indeed, the former captain remains key to the limited-overs batting batallion.
2. Phil Hughes (Australia)
Close, but no: David Warner (Australia)
Ricky Ponting's retirement and Shane Watson's injury has done wonders for Hughes' resurgence, and he has certainly grabbed the opportunity with both hands. A stretch of fine form at domestic level demanded higher honours on the international stage, and the left-hander obliged to the tune of twin tons in his maiden ODI series against Sri Lanka.
3. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Close, but no: Kevin Pietersen (England)
The man pinpointed as a future leader, Williamson stepped to the fore in the one-dayers against South Africa. While his Test skillset against big-gun opposition needs fine-tuning, that century in Kimberley was veritably death-defying, and a four-for in Paarl showed his spin-bowling prowess extends further than mere part-time status.
4. Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka)
Close, but no: Hashim Amla (South Africa)
Old faithful delivered again Down Under, orchestrating the necessary consistency across a batting order oft-lined with instability. However, a first series win in Australia was in the offing - and he will regret not finishing the job before handing the reins to his immediate successor Angelo Mathews.
5. Suresh Raina (India)
Close, but no: George Bailey (Australia)
The omission of Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli's fall in form and Rohit Sharma's fits and bursts required one of India's other newer school to come to the party. Raina dutifully obliged, picking the English apart in steady fashion across four half-centuries in five attempts en route to the Player of the Series award.
6. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India, captain, wicketkeeper)
Close, but no: BJ Watling (New Zealand)
Cut of a different cloth at the death of the knock, Dhoni has well and truly emerged as world cricket's greatest finisher. The man for the occasion and the recipient of plenty of big match temperament, there is little denying his steel, as Alastair Cook and cohorts will attest to.
7. Ravindra Jadeja (India)
Close, but no: James Franklin (New Zealand)
Dare we suggest India's long-lost search for a full-time limited-overs all-rounder is over...? Initially done a disservice by batting below Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja was promoted to his rightful number seven berth against England - and promptly showed India what they had been missing. His spin, too, remains a forced to be reckoned with in home conditions.
8. Nuwan Kulasekara (Sri Lanka)
Close, but no: Mitchell Starc (Australia)
At times unplayable in Australia, Kulasekara rekindled that form that once had him at the helm of the ODI rankings. A genuine exponent of swing bowling, his Brisbane five-for was a particular delight - while his Sydney three-for continued to the romp. George Bailey and company were quick to admit their inadequacies against the sterling right-armer.
9. James Tredwell (England)
Close, but no: Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan)
A residual success of England's decent display in India was the performance of Tredwell, who took advantage of the decision to rest Graeme Swann. 11 scalps at an average of less than 19 left him the series' wicket-taker, ahead of Ashwin and Jadeja - no small task, indeed.
10. Dale Steyn (South Africa)
Close, but no: Kane Richardson (Australia)
Yet again South Africa's number one gun in the Test series against New Zealand, Steyn took his cue to clinch his 300th wicket in the process and equal Allan Donald's record amount of five-fors. The question, now, begs to be asked: is Steyn a greater fast bowler than his current mentor ever was...?
11. Ishant Sharma (India)
Close, but no: Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)
Last year's ankle surgery has breathed a new lease of life onto Ishant's career, and the one-dayers against England have set up his time against Australia in February and March perfectly. That series might be his sternest Test yet, in terms of the standout ability and prolonged stamina required for the five-day game.