Mumbai Indians sign up SA opener Richard Levi

Richard Levi

Sachin Tendulkar would have T20's fastest century-maker Richard Levi partnering him in this season's Indian Premier League following the signing up of the young South African opener by Mumbai Indians as replacement for the retired Andrew Symonds.

"Mumbai Indians, the Champions League 2011 champions, today signed T20 sensation Richard Levi as a replacement of former Australian batsman Andrew Symonds, for the fifth edition of Indian Premier League 2012. Levi will be available full season for Mumbai Indians," said a media release from the IPL franchise.

The 24-year-old batsman caught the world's attention when he blasted his way into the record books with the fastest Twenty20 international century on Nobember 19 - - breaking previous records of Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum by reaching the three figures in only 45 balls with a dozen sixes and three fours.

Levi made an unbeaten 117 in the match against New Zealand at Hamilton in 51 balls with one more six and two additional fours to his credit as SA overhauled Kiwis' total of 173 for 4 with 24 balls to spare.

In all, Western Province's Levi has represented the Proteas in three T20 Internationals and has played 37 first class games with modest returns. He will be making his IPL debut in the season commencing on April 4.

Levi has expressed his happiness to join the ranks of MI skipper Tendulkar, his childhood idol, and senior bowler Harbhajan Singh.

"I am honoured to have Mumbai Indians management interest in my services. I have heard from friends around that Mumbai Indians is like an extended family where team shares a great bond and entrust upon youngsters. Beyond, Sachin Tendulkar has been my childhood hero and it would be exciting to share the dressing room with him."

"Richard is the perfect fits for Mumbai Indians current requirement. Post Andrew Symonds' retirement announcement, we were on a lookout for an explosive opening batsman and Richard's timing for his massive unbeaten 117 was so perfect to draw our attention," the release added.

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