England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was picked for a record-highest bid of Rs.14.50 crore by Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) for the fresh season, said that his stint with the Pune side will add "elegance" to his cricketing career.
“Playing for Rising Pune Supergiant is going to be a high point of my career. This is a chance, where I will work towards my team’s advantage with stalwarts like MS Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Ravichandran Ashwin and Steve Smith, to learn and enjoy the games at the same time,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
The 25-year-old cricketer is set to make his IPL debut with just a-year-old T20 team RPS.
“I am glad to be roped in by Pune team at the auction. I am hopeful to live up to the high expectation from fans in Pune as well as India,’’ Stokes added.
Under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, RPS concluded the 2016 edition, placed second last in the final rankings.
This time, Australia's Steve Smith will be leading the side that is scheduled to face Mumbai Indians in their opening match on April 6.
"I am looking forward to my new responsibility with much integrity and fervor. My experience of playing in India has been wonderful so far," Smith said.
Hailing the most expensive all-rounder in the history of IPL, the RPS skipper added that Stokes will bring the right dose of experience and skill in the squad.
"High and orderly performance with good bowling, fielding and batting will be the benchmark for judging the team. We hope to make Pune proud with good cricket,” the 27-year-old added.