England all-rounder Ben Stokes has praised the Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steve Smith saying that he has played a key role in improving him as a player and has also made some difference in his batting. He said that useful tips from Smith has played a major role regarding his successful season in the IPL.
Stokes grabbed 12 wickets in his 12 games and scored 316 runs which helped him clinching ‘IPL’s Most Valuable Player’ award.
“I felt like my game has got a lot better, from being able to work with the best players around the world and specialist coaches in that format,” Stokes told British media who is now looking forward to Champions Trophy preparations.
“My bowling has gone up another level, working with Eric Simons, from South Africa (Pune’s bowling coach). Being able to work on those skills for six weeks was a really good thing.”
Stokes praised Smith saying that he helped him during net sessions, however, he will line up against Smith in the Ashes later this year.
“I remember doing a batting session with him, with some power-hitting towards the end,” Stokes said. “The guy I’ll actually be playing against in the Ashes was helping me, something you’d never fathom when we’re playing against each other. The IPL is probably the only place where you would get that.”
Stokes was not a part of the final eleven which played against Mumbai Indians as he had to join his England squad for a three-match one-day series against South Africa which will start on May 24.