Pune, Feb 24: Indian Premier League (IPL) team Pune Warriors have bought their first player this season as they signed West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels for two years.
Also read: IPL teams in race to buy world record man Levi
Sahara Group owned Warriors had boycotted the IPL 5 auction on February 4 in Bangalore due to some differences with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. They had also pulled their team out IPL, but later patched up and have decided to come back into the fold for IPL 5.
BCCI have given Pune, extension for trading till February 29. Samuels is the first player to be inducted into the squad for this season's matches. However, the West Indian will not be available for the entire tournament as the IPL schedule clashes with their home series against Australia in March and April and also there is an away trip to England in May.
Samuels, who had a base price of $100,000, was unsold in the auction in Bangalore. The 31-year-old has so far not played in IPL and this will be his first taste of this big league.
Pune's another all-rounder, Mitchell Marsh of Australia, is ruled out of the tournament due to back injury.
At the moment, Samuels is featuring in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). He plays for Duronto Rajshahi team. He has been excellent in BPL so far.
Samuels has played 43 Twenty20s had has scored 1134 runs at a strike rate of 121.02. He has featured in 11 Twenty20 Internationals scoring 259 runs at a strike rate of 130.15. His big-hitting skills and offspin will help Pune do better than their disappointing showing last year.
Pune also don't have wicketkeeper Tim Paine of Australia, who is also ruled out due to an injury. And Samuels might fit into his role.
There are still three foreigner slots for Pune to fill and it is learnt that they are pursuing South African Richard Levi, who smashed the fastest Twenty20 International hundred and a record 13 sixes in the same match against New Zealand recently.
Captain Yuvraj Singh has already been ruled out of Pune team as he is currently undergoing chemotherapy in the US for a germ-cell tumour.