IPL 2016 May 2, 2016

Supergiants sign George Bailey

George Bailey has captained Kings XI Punjab previously in the IPL © BCCI

Australia batsman George Bailey has been called in by Rising Pune Supergiants as the replacement for Faf du Plessis, who was ruled out of the IPL with a finger injury.

Supergiants will be Bailey's third IPL franchise: he has already represented Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab, where he was the captain in 2015 before the franchise decided to release him. At the auction in February, Bailey, who had listed his base price as Rs 1 crore (USD 148,000 approx), did not find any buyers despite his name coming up twice.

Supergiants, one of the two new teams introduced this season, have endured a string of losses and are currently sixth on the points table with just two wins in eight games. Injuries have added to their woe, with four of their first-pick overseas players being ruled out over the past week. Before du Plessis, former England batsman Kevin Pietersen tore his calf while batting in the home match against Kolkata Knight Riders. Australian allrounder Mitchell Marsh managed to play just three matches before eventually returning to Australia earlier this week due to a side strain. Possibly the biggest blow came on Monday morning when Cricket Australia's medical team announced that Australia captain Steven Smith, who had scored his maiden T20 century on April 29, had picked a wrist injury and needed to return home.

"Smith's [news] been a bummer. He was just coming into his own and this happened," Raghu Iyer, chief executive at Supergiants, said. "It is a challenging time. Before we could settle down we lost the core group of players around whom you build a team around."

According to Iyer, given Bailey's leadership experience, he can cover for the loss of Smith and Pietersen. "We lost four crucial players, but we are looking ahead. Bailey has tremendous experience and had a very successful season before last. He can contribute to the leadership group," Iyer said. In 34 IPL games, Bailey has 579 runs at 25.17, with a strike rate 129.82.

Iyer said the franchise is likely to announce Marsh's replacement in the next two days. They have already signed Australia batsman Usman Khawaja as Pietersen's replacement.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo