Australia captain Steve Smith says England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been a “perfect fit” at Indian Premier League side Rising Pune Supergiant.
Stokes, who was signed by Pune for a record £1.7m for an overseas player in the IPL, smashed 103 from 63 balls in Sunday’s win over Gujarat Lions.
“We were very excited to get him,” said Pune skipper Smith.
“I had said before the auction to the guys, ‘just do what you have to to get him’.”
Stokes came out to bat with Pune 10-3 and hit seven boundaries and six sixes in his innings.
“All-rounders are so valuable in T20 cricket and he bats, bowls and fields well,” added Smith, who is set to face Stokes when Australia play England in the Champions Trophy and the Ashes later this year.
“He’s a perfect fit for our team, particularly after [Australia all-rounder] Mitchell Marsh was ruled out as well.”
Stokes’ power is ‘scary’
Australia leg spinner Adam Zampa, who also plays for Pune, has been struck by Stokes’ power.
“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 win over Gujarat.
“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.”