1. Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Close, but no: Alastair Cook (England)
A whopping 85 not out in the second T20I on the last day of June promised plenty for the next month, and the hard-hitting left-hander duly delivered. The game of cricket is much better off for his return to the international fold, as 125 in Kingston, 150 in Antigua and three other half-tons attest to. Count 'em: Gayle struck 19 sixes in July alone.
2. Graeme Smith (South Africa, captain)
Close, but no: Gautam Gambhir (India)
One of only men to score a century in his 100th Test, Smith led from the front entirely at The Oval, where his side brought England's wobbling reign into question that much more. The pressure of impending fatherhood didn't seem to bother the belligerent left-hander, who is now the proud owner of a one-nil series lead and beautiful bay girl.
3. Hashim Amla (South Africa)
Close, but no: Jonathan Trott (England)
Herculean doesn't begin to describe the effort of Amla in London, where he spent over 13 hours at the crease en route to the nation's highest ever Test score. Previous record holders AB de Villiers, Daryl Cullinan and Graeme Pollock have nothing on this guy.
4. Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka, wicketkeeper)
Close, but no: Virat Kohli (India)
The unlucky recipient of 199 not out last month and 192 at the start of this one, a ninth Test double-ton continues to evade the veteran left-hander. Lack of milestones aside, there's no denying the size of his contribution to Sri Lanka's Test series win over Pakistan, with India later feeling the wrath of his prolific bat. Pity a nasty finger injury sidelined him from the remainder of the series, though. Admittedly, Virat Kohli would have secured this berth, but our XI needed a wicketkeeper.
5. Suresh Raina (India)
Close, but no: Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Rohit Sharma's abysmal run has afforded Raina the opportunity to set himself apart from India's newer school against Sri Lanka. Establishing a niche finishing role in the middle-order, the talented left-hander now has promotion above Sharma, and maybe even Kohli, in his sights.
6. Ian Bell (England)
Close, but no: Asad Shafiq (Pakistan)
Recalling Bell to the limited-overs unit for the West Indies was a sound piece of foresight from the England management, with the right-hander kicking straight into the curtain raiser before Australia's visit with a fine century. A string of fine showings - and the Player of the Series accolade - then followed against Michael Clarke's men. Although a sterling all-round effort was responsible for the four-nil drubbing, the English will be quick to acknowledge the settling factor brought by Bell after Kevin Pietersen's retirement.
7. Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)
Close, but no: BJ Watling (New Zealand)
Sri Lanka's find of the year and, arguably, more of an asset than fellow all-rounder Angelo Mathews, Perera hardly put a foot wrong this month. Keep in mind that the selection of this hypothetical XI combines rides on individual performances on one of the three formats, and you'll appreciate Perera's dual positive impact. Outstanding in opening the attack before scoring a fine half-century in the final Test in Pallekele, he has since stuck it to the Indians - with both bat and ball - in the ongoing ODI series.
8. Andre Russell (West Indies)
Close, but no: Nuwan Kulaseakara (Sri Lanka)
While the limited-overs series against the New Zealanders was dominated by Gayle and Narine, every centre-stage perfomance needs a complementary sideshow. Russell dutifully obliged, clinching two four-fors and weighing in with a couple of important lower-order cameos in the four-one triumph. Not long before a Test call-up beckons, then.
9. Sunil Narine (West Indies)
Close, but no: Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)
Heralded by his captain as "unplayable" at times, Narine enjoyed a welcome return home this month. The visit to England, where conditions never really suit slow bowlers, didn't treat him well. Right on cue, back in the Caribbean, the spinner romped through the Kiwis. 25 wickets in seven matches, across all three formats, saw the 24-year-old emerge as the consummate international bowler this month.
10. Dale Steyn (South Africa)
Close, but no: Kemar Roach (West Indies)
Questioned for his inability to remove left-handers, the number one-ranked Test bowler quickly answered his critics with figures of seven for 155 in the series opener against England. True, only two of his victims were southpaw, but that's an inconsequential fact given the importance of the other five. And how gracious of him to assume the role of first change behind new-ball attack of Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.
11. Junaid Khan (Pakistan
Close, but no: Steven Finn (England)
Former coach Mohsin Khan was spot on when he questioned Junaid's omission from the World Twenty20 squad. The standout bowler, across UAE pitches primed for anything but seam bowling, Khan still missed out on selection for the showpiece in Sri Lanka in September. Go figure.