Marlon Samuels, the West Indies allrounder, has been signed up by Pune Warriors for the next two years. Samuels becomes the first player to be bought this year by Warriors, who had originally boycotted the auction on February 4, but were eventually granted an extended window for trading till February 29.
Samuels' deal has left Warriors with two more slots for overseas players after they released Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine (injured) and bought out West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor's contract from last year's squad.
With the IPL season clashing with West Indies' home series against Australia in March-April and then the away tour of England in May, Samuels will be available to play for Warriors for the first half. "He has agreed to play for the first ten-odd matches," a Warriors official told ESPNcricinfo.
Warriors had a wicketkeeper, a middle-order batsman and an allrounder as top priority on their buying list. The franchise has started knocking on the doors of rival franchises to explore any possible trading opportunities with the trading window deadline closing in a week's time.
It is understood that Samuels was also being pursued by IPL heavyweights Mumbai Indians as a replacement for the former Australia allrounder Andrew Symonds, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket last week. Samuels is currently playing for the Duronto Rajshahi franchise in the Bangladesh Premier League.