Joe Root has credited "the pain of defeat" for spurring him on over recent months as he was named England's player of the year in both Test and limited-overs cricket.

Root, whose awards were announced at the England team awards dinner in Leeds on Monday night, highlighted the World Cup debacle in New Zealand and Australia in early 2015 and England's Ashes humbling in 2013-14 as the turning points of a career that has reached impressive heights over recent months. Root, who was also named as the fan's choice player of the year in the men's game, was rated the world's No. 1 Test batsman for a while during the year and has been heralded by some as the finest player England have yet produced over the three international formats. He won the overall award in 2015.

But it was, Root said, the pain of failure that inspired him to improve his game. Dropped from the Test team at the end of an Ashes series that England lost 5-0, Root resolved to work harder than ever to succeed in international cricket. And, realising how far England had slipped behind the field after the early elimination from the World Cup, he resolved to push himself.

"Coming out of the Ashes in 2013-14 and the World Cup in 2015 I realised how much I wanted to be a force in international cricket," Root said as he reflected on a year of progress both personally and for the England team. "I knew then how much work I was going to have to put in if that was going to be the case. And I have worked very hard.

"The World Cup was probably the lowest point. It was tough to take; an incredibly frustrating tour. The thing was, we had everything there: it was all starting to come together. But it was probably a year too soon.

"The pain of those defeats helped spur me on. You need that desire and that hunger. You learn from the mistakes you make. You learn from the bad games and the bad tours.

"And, when things are going well, you think about that and you make the most of it. You don't get lazy; you don't rest on your laurels. You make it count. This game can be brutal. As soon as you get comfortable, it bites you. You have to stay on it all the time."

Root reached 50 13 times in 27 Test innings (three centuries and 10 half-centuries at an average of 54.83) in the last 12 months. He added four centuries and four half-centuries in 14 ODIs (at an average of 59.23 and a strike-rate of 95.53) and three half-centuries in 11 T20I innings (at an average of 41.10 and a strike-rate of 145.22). Two of those Test centuries came as England regained the Ashes, while he finished the World T20 in India as England's leading run-scorer.

His excellence helped England improve in all formats. After starting 2015 with the World Cup disappointment and a drawn Test series against West Indies, they won the Ashes at home and beat South Africa, at the time the No. 1-ranked Test side, away before reaching the final of the World T20. They also enjoyed some improved performances in ODI cricket, including a memorable series success over World Cup finalists New Zealand who had thrashed them a few months previously.

"It's hard to look past winning the Ashes as a highlight," Root said. "To have had such a strong Ashes series was really pleasing as Australia were the one side who I'd not really scored big runs against. I was very keen to put that right.

"Then going to South Africa and coming away with a Test series win was a fantastic effort from all the players and it gives us a lot of confidence going into this summer. If we win these two series, I believe we hold every [bilateral series Test] trophy across world cricket."

For Root, though, the real satisfaction in these awards comes from what they signify: his contribution to an improving team.

"The reason you play is to contribute to England winning," he said. "During the last 12 months or so, we've come a long way and kept improving. To be able to say I've contributed makes me really pleased and proud.

"You can't win these personal awards without great people - and great team players - around you. These personal awards are great, but they don't mean as much as the ones you win together."

He admitted he was surprised by how quickly he reached the No. 1 Test ranking and remains adamant that he has much to learn from his rivals for the position.

"It surprised me to reach that target, to be honest," Root said. "I know that my cricket can develop so much more. There are so many areas that I have to keep working on and keep improving. I don't think you're ever happy as a batter: there as always more runs you can get and more tweaks you can make to improve. There's plenty on the horizon for me to work at.

"The rankings look after themselves. If you're playing well for England - and scoring runs for England - it takes care of itself. It's not really a target. When it comes to Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, I try and look and learn from them all the time. They are the best in the world and I know I can learn from what they do and how they go about things."

There are, of course, still bridges to cross for Root. He has, to date, played just one Test in India and he is yet to enjoy red-ball success in Australia. Perhaps his most significant adversary, though, will come from closer to home. England's schedule is so demanding that it threatens to burn out its best players - either mentally or physically - long before their time.

For Root the danger are particularly obvious. Not only is he a key part of the side in all formats, but he has a history of back trouble and is earmarked as England's next Test captain which could yet come sooner than the 2017-18 Ashes that Alastair Cook is targeting. While he is, by instinct, keen to play as much as possible - for Yorkshire as well as England - he accepts it will be something that needs monitoring.

"The management and backroom staff have been very good with knowing when to pull me out of games and giving me time to rest and recover," he said. "Mentally, more than anything, it can be quite draining sometimes. You do need some time away from cricket. It's about making sure it doesn't affect your performances on the field. At the minute they have the balance exactly right. I'm really pleased with where my game is and where my head is.

"My back is fine. I batted for a decent amount of time against Surrey last week and it held together pretty well. Fingers crossed, that's something that shouldn't be too much of an issue over the summer."

For an England side that have come to rely on him, that will come as a relief.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo