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Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, has been signed by Pune Warriors as a replacement for Ashish Nehra, who was ruled out for the remainder of the 2011 season with a finger injury. Ganguly's contract is for a period of one year and is an IPL lifeline to the batsman after he went unsold at the player auction in January, where his base price was $400,000.
Ganguly will be vice-captain to Yuvraj Singh and is likely to join the Pune squad ahead of their match against Mumbai Indians at the DY Patil Stadium on May 4.
"We were waiting for Ashish Nehra's fitness report and ultimately the report came yesterday," Abhijit Sarkar, Pune's team director, told PTI. "I was already in talks with Ganguly and we decided that the amount of experience that Sourav has in cricket will no doubt help the team. So we finalised Ganguly last night.
"He is playing in IPL not for money but to prove a point. Our team think-tank felt that Sourav Ganguly is the best possible option available so we went for him. He has been a fighter and a master of comebacks. We are very much confident that he will prove his worth."
Ganguly played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the first three seasons of the IPL and led the team in two of them, while Brendon McCullum was captain for the other. Kolkata fared poorly in those years and are the only franchise not to make the semi-finals. Kolkata did not bid for Ganguly in January despite his name coming up for sale twice, as they revamped their squad entirely, and the batsman later refused a mentoring role with the franchise.
Pune Warriors are bottom of the ten-team league at present, having lost six consecutive matches after winning their first two. Ganguly has an average IPL record - 1031 runs at an average of 28 and strike-rate of 110 - and could strengthen an under-performing and short batting order.