IMPROVED: England's Ben Stokes is ready for Proteas

Stokes was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in his debut season in the T20 tournament with his 12 wickets and 316 runs in 12 games, helping the Rising Pune Supergiant to reach the final.

Ahead of the ODI series against the Proteas, which starts today, Stokes is fired up.

He says: “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.

“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.

“I remember doing a batting session with him, with some power-hitting towards the end.

“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.”