Ben Stokes credits his Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steve Smith’s batting tips for improving his game, following a successful debut Indian Premier League season.

The England allrounder was named IPL 2017’s Most Valuable Player after returning with 12 wickets and by scoring 316 runs from 12 games. Stokes couldn’t turn up for Pune in the knockouts because he had to return to England for international duty. Nevertheless, he played a key role in carrying Pune to the final.

“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 was quoted as saying to the British media.

“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.”

However, Stokes made special mention of Smith, who helped him by doing a batting session of power-hitting with the star allrounder.

“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,” he added.

Stokes didn’t play in the final, which Pune lost to Mumbai Indians by one run.

(With Agency inputs)