Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Rising Pune Supergiants captain Steve Smith has revealed that he told the franchise to do whatever it took to sign England all-rounder Ben Stokes.
Stokes attracted a lot of attention at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in February and despite entering the fray quite late, the Supergiants ended up getting the 25-year-old for a whopping INR 14.5 crore, which made him the most expensive overseas player ever sold at the auction.
Prior to Monday’s victory over the Gujarat Lions, Stokes only had a half-century to his name. However, that all changed when he came out to bat with his side struggling on 10/3 in their chase of 162 to win.
Stokes ended up smashing an unbeaten 103, which included seven boundaries and six sixes, to lead the Supergiants to a thrilling victory off the penultimate ball of the match.
“We were very excited to get him,” Smith said. “I had said before the auction to the guys, ‘just do what you have to to get him’.
“All-rounders are so valuable in T20 cricket and he bats, bowls and fields well. He’s a perfect fit for our team, particularly after [Australia all-rounder] Mitchell Marsh was ruled out as well.”
Meanwhile, Australia spinner Adam Zampa, who also plays for the Supergiants, admitted that he was in awe when witnessing the power that Stokes generates while batting.
“The first few net sessions here I actually couldn’t believe how hard and far he hit the ball,” Zampa told Cricket Australia prior to the game against the Lions. “He hits it harder than anyone I’ve ever seen to be fair.
“It can be scary bowling to him in the nets. It’s just power. You feel like you beat him in the air, spinning away with a ‘wrong’un’ and he just powers it.”