Ganguly will bring in experience: Yuvraj

Updated: May 04, 2011, 10:33 AM IST

Mumbai: Pune Warriors skipper Yuvraj Singh welcomed Sourav Ganguly`s inclusion to the squad, saying the former India skipper`s experience will be an asset to the team and will help him in leading the side better in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

"He`s experienced and I will get help in captaining the team," Yuvraj told reporters here today, the eve of their match against Mumbai Indians.

"Definitely he will bring in some experience," he added.

Ganguly, who was today picked as Ashish Nehra`s replacement following an injury to the left-arm seamer, has however, been ruled out of tomorrow`s tie.

The southpaw from Bengal had backed Yuvraj to the hilt as India skipper and for the Punjab lad, it`s payback time now.

"I share a very good rapport with Sourav. He was a big support for me when I started playing cricket, so I thought (I) stand to play the role vice versa. Guys like Laxman and Dravid are still playing good cricket and so I though he too deserves a chance," Yuvraj said.

While Yuvraj is happy with Ganguly`s addition, questions remain over his fitness.

"We have to see first if he is fit to play. He has not played for a long while. He has not played much cricket, so he needs to come in and show his fitness test. If he`s fit we will definitely pick him," said Yuvraj.

Picking a batsman for an injured bowler does sound a bit surprising, but Yuvraj said Ganguly was picked as they needed experience in batting.

"We always looked for an option, the best option. It was the franchisee`s idea because we were waiting for Ashish`s (Nehra) recovery. He cannot be fit till the IPL finishes. Looking at the batting we thought we needed someone with experience; that`s why we got Sourav. But he would not play. He`s not in the running," said Yuvraj, who made his international debut under Ganguly.

"(Our) concern was what the best option for Ashish Nehra was. We have a lot of bowlers but we needed someone experienced in the batting line-up who is an also Indian and who will not hamper a foreigner playing. That`s why we went for Sourav," he elaborated.

Ganguly went unsold in the players auctions held in January, after he raised his base price from USD 200,000 to 400,000.

Yuvraj is also hoping to see Graeme Smith on the field at the earliest.

"Hopefully, once Greame also becomes fit, our team will become stronger. Smith is good, he`s much better now. We will assess his fitness tomorrow," the Pune skipper said.

After starting their maiden season with back-to-back wins, Pune suffered six straight losses to slip to the bottom of the table, but Yuvraj felt a win against the table topper will be a huge morale booster.

"At the moment it`s very tough for us. Six losses can kill a lot of confidence. We got a big game tomorrow. MI is playing really well. If we can win the game it will give us a lot of confidence and help us in the coming games. We got a very good team. We just need one win somehow and we will get our momentum back," he said.

Asked if it was the ideal time to take on Mumbai at their den, Yuvraj said, "It goes both ways. The worst is you are playing the best team in the tournament and the best thing is if you beat the best team in the tournament you can beat a lot of other teams."

According to Yuvraj, the Warriors should have won at least three out of their last six games.

"Last six games - three of those we should have won. The game against Chennai in Chennai, the Delhi game and the game against Jaipur. We dropped three catches of the three main players. That`s why we lost the game," he said.

He was clearly miffed at the suggestion that his performance in the tournament has been less than what was expected of him.

"My performance - I am the highest run-getter. I played two match-winning knocks. As a batsman I got to do a job; if the bowlers can`t do their job I can`t do much," he said.

Yuvraj said the team did not want a repeat of the sorry display against MI in their earlier clash at the Wankhede Stadium.

"We lost four early wickets in the first four overs. That`s something we don`t want to do again. I thought we bowled well in that game," he said.

He was of the opinion that leg spinner Rahul Sharma will be a good one-day prospect if he can improve his batting and fielding.

"He`s been bowling well. Every time I give him the ball he gets me a wicket. He`s been very confident about his bowling. I have been seeing him since domestic cricket and he`s worked hard on his game. If he works hard on his fielding
and batting he can be looked at in future as a limited overs prospect," Yuvraj said.

Even though it`s their home game, Yurvaj was not certainwhich team would get more support.

"Crowd is going to be 50-50. A lot of Mumbaikars are going to be coming and a few people from Pune. We will have to see who gets support."